Feyerabend’s Theoretical Pluralism: An Investigation of the Epistemic Value of False Theories

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I critically examine Feyerabend’s defense of theoretical pluralism, illustrating key claims with a case study of an episode in the history of early modern astronomy, when Tycho Brahe published his new theory of the cosmos. I argue that contemporary defenses of pluralism tend to emphasize the fact that when scientists consider more theories they are more likely to hit up the truth or a theory close to the truth. This was not Feyerabend’s rationale for theoretical pluralism. In his defense of theoretical pluralism, Feyerabend emphasizes the importance of comparative evaluation in determining the epistemic merits of competing theories. Further, I argue that when there are multiple theories from which to choose, scientists are able to make the transition from a long-accepted theory to a new theory in a gradual, piecemeal fashion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterpreting Feyerabend : Critical Essays
EditorsKarim Bschir, Jamie Shaw
Place of publicationCambridge
ISBN (Electronic)9781108575102
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

    Research areas

  • Feyerabend, pluralism, theoretical pluralism, Tycho Brahe

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