Feyerabend’s Humanitarianism: Considerations on Feyerabend’s Moral Relativism

Mohsen Khademi


My paper is split into five sections. After a rather briefly preface as to how the modern science did outdistance the other rivals after the scientific revolution, in the second section I shall go over Feyerabend’s diatribe against “authority of scientific knowledge”, “tyranny of science”, and the reason why he has denied the authority. According to him, “science has now become as oppressive as the ideologies it once had to fight.” Hence it can no longer be the neutral judge of human activities. The third section, being a direct consequence of the first section, is some considerations on Feyerabend’s humanitarianism. In this section I argue that Feyerabend substituted human-being/ humanitarianism in the place of science/ scientific criteria. Because, for him, humanitarianism is far preferable to scientific standards and values. This shows that epistemic relativism doesn’t necessarily lead to thorough-going moral-political relativism which, in turn, eventuates in anarchism. He even went so far as to base his neutral utopian society on humanitarianism– one which cannot be based on humanitarian considerations! In fourth section I shall proceed to the paradox. And finally, in the last section, expressing a key point in some detail, I shall show that, according to Feyerabend, relativism isn’t egalitarianism at all, but rather humanitarian considerations are the center of gravity of his relativism. On this ground, he would distinguish “proper behavior” from “improper”. By the same token, methinks, he is to be considered as a moderate moral relativist, not as a full-blown moral relativist. In a nutshell, a central aim of this paper is to assist the reader of Feyerabend to grasp the main idea of his philosophy from an entirely new perspective.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v5i1.2090


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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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