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PHD-DESIGN  February 2012

PHD-DESIGN February 2012

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Subject:

Re: Yes, there is a (single) scientific method

From:

jeremy hunsinger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 11:32:01 -0500

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Hi Ken,

I personally think that you don't have to go the Bushie route with 'anything goes'.  Anything goes but it enters the court of evidence, or the parliament of research, where it is compared openly in its merits.  Anything goes is about choice of methods in generation of that which competes as knowledges, but then it competes as knowledge in the world along other knowledges.  If we as academics cannot sustain the argument against knowledge that is not of worth or convince the public that our claims of that knowledge and its relation to reality is more meaningful to their lives, then we have problems, and of course, we do have problems in that regard.  However, what we cannot do is take the position that there are better and worse methods without actually trying them in the cases provided, which is the lesson of Feyerabend.  

> 
> The one viewpoint with which I disagree comprehensively is Paul
> Feyerabend’s argument that “anything goes.” Feyerabend made the
> argument that voodoo can be just as valid a science, and he said that we
> don’t know what’s best until we’ve tried all approaches. To me,
> this sounds very much like George Bush the Younger explaining why his
> economic theories would create more wealth and greater prosperity for
> everyone. The new load of post-Bush cronies now claim that Bushonomics
> actually worked but the reforms didn’t go deep enough. As a result,
> they want to go even further. This is what happens when we argue that
> any argument is as good as any other. In a 2004 interview in the New
> York Times, a senior member of the Bush administration argued that the
> “reality-based community” was mistaken in attempting to make
> decisions based on “discernible reality.” This is the claim that
> “anything goes.” While Feyerabend’s ethical position was quite
> different to that of the Bushies, Feyerabend’s epistemology suited
> them well.

> It is unethical to argue that “anything goes” when research and to
> research outcomes involve human lives. I understand the Feyerabend
> debate, and I enjoy reading Feyerabend as well as Lakatos and others who
> debated with him. I think that debate is irrelevant here, and it will be
> until enough of us have read enough of the debate to debate with respect
> to the crucial underlying issue.

I don't think that really has anything to do with the position.  The practices of science are bound within its institutions still, and ethics will still be a consideration of choice.  Anything goes is as I indicated, open for interpretation.

Jeremy Hunsinger
Communication Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University
Center for Digital Discourse and Culture
Virginia Tech


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