Sunday, March 22, 2009


If the anarchic qualities of musical change and discovery are to be taken seriously, then the writings of Paul Feyerabend seem increasingly useful.  Take this small text, for example, on epistemological anarchism, and substitute "compositional" or "aesthetic" for "epistemological". Or take this, from Against Method, and substitute "music" for "science":

“The idea that science can, and should, be run according to fixed and universal rules, is both unrealistic and pernicious. It is unrealistic, for it takes too simple a view of the talents of man and of the circumstances which encourage, or cause, their development. And it is pernicious, for the attempt to enforce the rules is bound to increase our professional qualifications at the expense of our humanity. In addition, the idea is detrimental to science, for it neglects the complex physical and historical conditions which influence scientific change. It makes our science less adaptable and more dogmatic: every methodological rule is associated with cosmological assumptions, so that using the rule we take it for granted that the assumptions are correct. Naive falsificationism takes it for granted that the laws of nature are manifest and not hidden beneath disturbances of considerable magnitude. Empiricism takes it for granted that sense experience is a better mirror of the world than pure thought.”

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