Last Book

Motterlini, M. (1999). For and Against Method

Really not sure about this choice. I need to resolve my ignorance of the philosophy of science.

The book also has a strange relationship with a not uncommon historical issue, lost texts and later historical reconstruction of them (play a very minor role in discussion of Rome and a more fuller part of something else for the future).

Here the text is exploring a book that was never written or completed. A debate between two 20th century philosophers Imre Lakatos and  Paul Feyerabend. The two had a personal friendship but held contrasting philosophical views and intended to write a joint project exploring the differences.

Imre Lakatos died suddenly before the project was finished.

Ive not read either philosophers seems like a good way to start.  I was both intrigued and strongly disinclined to buy the book when I read a small section online.

The author starts with an imaginary dialogue between Lakatos and Feyerabend. I found this interesting in a number of ways. Personally for me I hate the way philosophy rigidly labels ideas and pigeon holes philosophy. It may be extremely useful for philosophers to do this (I have no idea I am not a philosopher). I don’t want to label my own thought or become particularly attached to it as I generally hold to the suspicion that it may change and alter as evidence presents itself in differing circumstances. An imaginary and creative flag useful in generating memory here.

I also suspect that when reading a philosophical ghost deployed in a contemporary argument that the argument presented may not be an accurate account of the philosophers view in historical context and may relate to something else. On that thought a note of caution creeps in.

This is a general issue with outside subjects and prediction. With early medieval history I know the historians, so if for example Prof Plum is dragged kicking and screaming in support of a proposition I know he would be reluctant to support, I can predict with a high degree of certainty that a consensus has been reached and if I look further I am going to discover either a seriously good paper or a somewhat fruitful conference on the subject.

I can reach the conclusion with a strong degree of certainty, Prof Plumb has certainly has  been hit over the head with a blunt instrument in the study and I have a reasonable idea the weapon was a lead pipe which I should be able to locate.  The details may be contained in a couple of words and a single reference in a terse sentence in a paper but provide a clear flag you can easily follow.

I don’t have the experience with philosophy to pin down debate or predict with same degree of accuracy where to go next or perhaps more importantly what are the contemporary factors that may be bending a debate in our out of shape and into a particular contemporary form.

So it’s interesting in this regard as it stimulates a range of issues and questions.

My lack of predictive ability with philosophy presents a serious issue with the writer’s choice of introduction and his imaginative reconstruction based on historical sources.

I feel this may be a somewhat unfortunate stylistic choice certainly in terms of wider readership, one to consult in a library I think first.


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