Article ID: CBB740430654

Feyerabend and manufactured disagreement: reflections on expertise, consensus, and science policy (2021)


Feyerabend is infamous for his defense of pluralism, which he extends to every topic he discusses. Disagreement, a by-product of this pluralism, becomes a sign of flourishing critical communities. In Feyerabend’s political works, he extends this pluralism from science to democratic societies and incorporates his earlier work on scientific methodology into a procedure for designing just policy. However, a description and analysis of Feyerabend’s conception of disagreement is lacking. In this paper, I reconstruct and assess Feyerabend’s conception of disagreement, with a particular emphasis on the role of experts, and its role in the formation of science policy. I go on to assess this argument in light of recent literature on manufactured disagreement on politically contentious science policy (Oreskes and Conway in Merchants of doubt: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming, Bloomsbury Publishing, Indianapolis, 2011). I conclude by suggesting some prospects and problems for de-idealizing Feyerabend’s position on disagreement to see whether it may be plausibly implemented.

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Authors & Contributors
Tsou, Jonathan Y.
Stuart, Michael T.
Lévy-Leblond, Jean-Marc
Harker, David
Carrier, Martin
Fair, Laura
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Perspectives on Science
Journal for General Philosophy of Science
Social Studies of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Cambridge University Press
Michigan State University
Carocci Editore
Philosophy of science
Pluralism (philosophy)
Controversies and disputes
Science and politics
Science and society
Feyerabend, Paul K.
Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich
Bohr, Niels Henrik David
Machiavelli, Niccolò
Mill, John Stuart
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
18th century
17th century
School of Milan

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