Comments: Acute Proliferitis
Paul Feyerabend has discovered a disease common to Protestantism, Empiricism, and Classical Theatre. The disease is a commitment to a ‘party line’ as the source of all authority, as an unquestionable ‘rule of faith’. I shall confine my remarks to Empiricism.
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- 1.Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. II, New York 1965, pp. 223–4.Google Scholar
- 2.See my ‘On the Meaning of Scientific Terms’, Journal of Philosophy 61 (1964) 497–509, and ‘The Problem of Theoretical Terms’, American Philosophical Quarterly 2 (1965) 193–203.Google Scholar
- 3.Thus Locke: “This, therefore, being my purpose — to inquire into the original, certainty, and extent of human knowledge, together with the grounds and degrees of belief, opinion, and assent” (An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. A. C. Fraser, p. 26). — Contemporary logical empiricists, it might be noted, have a twofold concern with theories: (a) are they empirically meaningful?, and (b) ought they to be believed or accepted? With respect to (a), the invention or elaboration of alternatives to those accepted is not precluded (provided these alternatives fulfil criteria for meaningfulness). With respect to (b), it is not the invention or elaboration of alternatives that is precluded but only the acceptance of such alternatives if they are not confirmed (though for some logical empiricists the question of acceptance is to be decided by combining considerations of confirmation with principles of utility). See The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap (ed. by P. A. Schilpp), p. 984, rule ii’.Google Scholar
- 4.Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. II, New York 1965, p. 226.Google Scholar