Today we considered the anarchic view of Paul Feyerabend. He presented a general and a specific attack on science. His general attack said that most people’s attitude toward science is like the attitudes of people living in authoritarian regimes: people are afraid to criticize science. His specific attack says that the reasons advocates of science give for their position, namely that science (1) has a special method, and (2) science gets results, are both unconvincing. Against (1), Feyerabend uses historical arguments, saying instead that science has so many inconsistent methods that it really only has a history. Against (2) Feyerabend says that science does get results, but so do all sorts of things - astrology, acupuncture, etc. Given his general and specific arguments, Feyerabend says that most people slavishly follow science, but Feyerabend says that we ought to value our own freedom here as we do in politics, and make room for practices that are often considered unscientific.
We also read David Stove, who defends the old, inductive approach to natural science against Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend. All these were wrong, Stove thinks, to discard the perfectly good science of the Victorian period. Fundamentally, they made the mistake of confusing irrefutability, which is the best property a theory could have, with unfalisifiability, and they are tired of the confidence with which Victorian authors write. Stove would probably have found much to like in Quine.