© 2020

Feyerabend’s Formative Years. Volume 1. Feyerabend and Popper

Correspondence and Unpublished Papers

  • Matteo Collodel
  • Eric Oberheim

Part of the Vienna Circle Institute Library book series (VCIL, volume 5)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Matteo Collodel, Eric Oberheim
    Pages 1-16
  3. Autobiographical Writings

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Paul K. Feyerabend
      Pages 19-44
    3. Paul K. Feyerabend
      Pages 45-55
  4. Correspondence

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 57-58
    2. Paul K. Feyerabend, Karl R. Popper
      Pages 59-420
  5. Unpublished Papers

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 421-421
    2. Paul K. Feyerabend
      Pages 475-485
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 493-535

About this book


This book offers an inside look into the notoriously tumultuous, professional relationship of two great minds: Karl Popper and Paul Feyerabend. It collects their complete surviving correspondence (1948-1967) and contains previously unpublished papers by both. An introduction situates the correspondence in its historical context by recounting how they first came to meet and an extensive editorial apparatus provides a wealth of background information along with systematic mini-biographies of persons named.

Taken together, the collection presents Popper and Feyerabend’s controversial ideas against the background of the postwar academic environment. It exposes key aspects of an evolving student-mentor relationship that eventually ended amidst increasing accusations of plagiarism. Throughout, readers will find in-depth discussions on a wide range of intriguing topics, including an ongoing debate over the foundations of quantum theory and Popper’s repeated attempts to design an experiment that would test different interpretations of quantum mechanics. The captivating exchange between Feyerabend and Popper offers a valuable resource that will appeal to scientists, laymen, and a wide range of scholars: especially philosophers, historians of science and philosophy and, more generally, intellectual historians.


Complementarity Copenhagen interpretation Karl Popper Paul Feyerabend Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics Popper’s experiment Popperian School Logical Empiricism Hempel Philosophy of Nature Lakatos Incommensurability Vienna Circle Inductivist Accounts Scientific Method interpretations of quantum mechanics Two-Slit Experiment Defence of Free Thinking

Editors and affiliations

  • Matteo Collodel
    • 1
  • Eric Oberheim
    • 2
  1. 1.Università Ca’ Foscari VeneziaVeniceItaly
  2. 2.Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

About the editors

Paul Feyerabend (1924-1994) studied science and philosophy before earning his Ph.D. in philosophy of science in Vienna in 1951. He made a name for himself as a vocal proponent of Popper’s critical rationalism, before becoming one of its most ardent critics. With his international best-seller Against Method (1975), he became one of the twentieth century’s most famous philosophers of science.

Karl Popper (1902-1994) is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's greatest and most influential philosophers of science. He argued against inductivist accounts of scientific method traditionally used to distinguish science from non-science, developing what has become a popular alternative: falsificationism, according to which we propose and nature disposes. He was also a social and political philosopher of considerable stature, emphasizing the constructive role of criticism as the driving force of progress in both science and in society.

Matteo Collodel is an independent scholar and a tenured high school teacher in philosophy, history and the social sciences. He earned his MA and his PhD in philosophy from the “Ca’ Foscari” University of Venice (Italy), with the philosophy of science as his main area of specialization and historically-oriented dissertations on the philosophy of Mary Hesse (2001) and on Paul Feyerabend’s idea of incommensurability (2007). He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Humboldt University of Berlin (2008-2012), where he was engaged in a project on Feyerabend's unpublished correspondence and papers. He is currently working on an intellectual biography of Feyerabend.

Eric Oberheim, author of Feyerabend’s Philosophy (2006), is an internationally renowned Feyerabend scholar who has edited Feyerabend’s posthumously published The Tyranny of Science (2011) and Feyerabend’s The Philosophy of Nature (2016). He is currently working on his Habilitation at the Humboldt University of Berlin, as well as editing a series of volumes of Feyerabend’s correspondence.

Bibliographic information