Good article on Feyerabend and “anything goes”

link to article, by Ian James Kidd

“‘Anything goes’ actually meant something quite different. It doesn’t mean scientists can use any methods they like, or none. It doesn’t mean caprice should replace carefulness. It does not mean scientific practice consists of a constant whirl of creativity and innovation. Scientific practice, across its forms, is often ploddingly procedural — something that Feyerabend, as a trained physicist, knew all too well. ‘Anything goes’ was, he explained, the reaction of a methodological monist to the actual history and practice of the sciences. Methodological monism, the doctrine that there’s a single unified set of fully articulated methodological rules, which don’t change over time and apply to all sciences, whether the topic is supernovae or starfish. Feyerabend objected that if monists will insist on identifying some invariant rule, then the only one they can find across the history of the sciences would be that ‘anything goes’. But there’s a more sensible alternative: one can abandon the limits of monism and embrace a more complex and pluralistic image of science that recognises that its methods and goals vary enormously.”

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