Commenced in January 2007
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Building an Absurdist Approach to the Philosophy of Science: Combining Camus and Feyerabend

Authors: Robert Herold

Abstract:

This project aims to begin building out a new approach within the philosophy of science that is based around a combination of insights from Albert Camus and Paul Feyerabend. This approach is one that will be labeled an absurdist approach as it uses, for its foundation, the philosophy of the absurd as discussed by Camus. While Camus didn’t directly discuss the philosophy of science, nor did he offer his own views on the subject in any substantial way, that doesn’t mean that his work doesn’t have applications within the philosophy of science. In fact, as is argued throughout the piece, much of the work done by Paul Feyerabend stems from a similar metaphysical and epistemological foundation as Camus. This foundation is the notion of the absurd and the inability of us as humans to reach some sort of objective truth. In modern times both Camus and Feyerabend have been largely pushed to the wayside, though Feyerabend has undoubtedly received the most unfair treatment of the two, and this is something that serves to act more as a hindrance than anything else. Much of the claims and arguments made by both Camus and Feyerabend have not been truly refuted and have simply been pushed aside by pointing to supposed contradictions or inconsistencies. However, while it would be a monumental task to attempt to discuss all of this past work, perhaps it might be better to move beyond both Camus and Feyerabend and chart a new path. This is the overall goal of this paper. This research will demonstrate that not only are the philosophies of Camus and Feyerabend surprisingly similar and able to mesh well together, they also are able to form into something that is truly more than the sum of its parts. While the task of actually building out an approach is a monumental undertaking, the plan is to use this project as a jumping-off point. As such, this paper will start by examining some of the main claims made by both Camus and Feyerabend. Once this is done, then begin weaving them together and demonstrating where the links between the philosophies of both are. Then this study will end by building out the very begging foundations of the absurdist approach to the philosophy of science.

Keywords: philosophy, philosophy of science, albert camus, paul feyerabend

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