Philosophy of science and its history

Paul Feyerabend

In my dissertation (2016) I provided a novel interpretation of Feyerabend’s philosophy by showing that many of his famous post-positivist theses (his pragmatic theory of observation, his incommensurability thesis, etc.) developed from early contributions to scientific philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s and that his later attack on Logical Empiricism is to be understood as an internal critique: He targets an unwelcome philosophical development of post-war Logical Empiricism from the viewpoint of earlier contributions to Logical Empiricism, which were made by Viktor Kraft, Philipp Frank, Rudolf Carnap and Otto Neurath, but which did not survive the forced emigration over to the American continent.

Furthermore, I contend that an adequate reconstruction of Feyerabend’s metaphilosophical view as a distinct kind of epistemic voluntarism can explain some turning points in Feyerabend’s overall philosophy, in particular his early attacks against (and later adherence to) the so-called “historical turn” in philosophy of science. I explain his change of mind on the basis of quite minimal changes on the level of Feyerabend’s metaphilosophical views.

Finally, I am interested in the relationship between Feyerabend’s general philosophy of science and his more technical contributions, in particular his interest in (the philosophy of) quantum physics.

Rudolf Carnap

I am interested in rediscovering how the Neurathian push towards a more empirical dimension of philosophy of science affected the early Vienna Circle. Starting from Feyerabend’s testimony, I reconstructed a particular proposal in the protocol sentence debate put forward by Rudolf Carnap as an attempt at a causal account of observation sentences in terms of a “detector model” of observational agents.