By Paul Feyerabend, Verso, September 1993, 978-0860916468
Paul Feyerabend is a contrarian. If he would have written a review of Against Method, it would have been For Method. As a contrarian, he’s a hoot. He finds contradictions in almost everything.
Feyerabend’s philosophy of science is a series of accidents. His argument gets quite technical for me, even though the language is plain. Perhaps he already assumes the reader is familiar with the subject. This book is so full of facts that it became difficult for me to do anything but trust that they were true, or I would have lost the flow, entirely. That being said, his general approach resonates with me, and my philosophy.
I was confused, in particular, by Feyerabend’s methodological (or simply logical) approach to understanding how Galileo advanced science. I find it very hard to know or understand if “no method” is a method on its own. I still don’t get how falsificationism (falibilism) isn’t useful. Certainly, I find it useful in testing the software I create. It’s my method, and I do believe that it’s the most effective method for software development. Not that it is at all popular to write software iteratively or test-driven.
It seems that Feyerabend is saying that the method of presentation that convinces or proves something, and therefore you can’t really prove anything or take anything stated as “fact” for granted. I’m an eternal skeptic, except what I’ve been convinced of, and then I’m as hardnosed as Feyerabend is about his belief that we should hold fast to no method.
Being a skeptic, Against Method left me with a lot of questions: How do we find our own truths? When do we hold fast on to what we believe is a truth, and when do we change our mind? Do we always believe the presenter, or never? If not, why not? Is progress simply a mirage for society?
I did find Feyerabend to be paternalistic towards primitive peoples. He wants us to leave them alone, but why shouldn’t we communicate with them, and try to provide Western scientific methods to them and more important, the useful products of science (e.g. medicine). Should we not let them choose if they are interested or not in our systems/methods/products? To me that’s truly free.
[p2] It also follows that ‘non-scientific’ procedures cannot be pushed aside by argument. To say: ‘the procedure you used is non-scientific, therefore we cannot trust your results and cannot give you money for research’ assumes that ‘science’ is successful and that it is successful because it uses uniform procedures. The first part of the assertion (‘science is always successful’) is not true, if by ‘science’ we mean things done by scientists - there are lots of failures also. The second part - that successes are due to uniform procedures - is not true because there are no such procedures. Scientists are like architects who build buildings of different sizes and different shapes and who can be judged only after the event, i.e. only after they have finished their structure. It may stand up, it may fall down - nobody knows.
Do not constrain yourself to an epistemology. You’ll stagnate. Yet at the same time, do not stray to far from it.
[p10] This is indeed the conclusion that has been drawn by intelligent and thoughtful observers. ‘Two very important practical conclusions follow from this [character of the historical process],’ writes Lenin, continuing the passage from which I have just quoted. ‘First, that in order to fulfil its task, the revolutionary class [i.e. the class of those who want to change either a part of society such as science, or society as a whole] must be able to master all forms or aspects of social activity without exception [it must be able to understand, and to apply, not only one particular methodology, but any methodology, and any variation thereof it can imagine] … ; second [it] must be ready to pass from one to another in the quickest and most unexpected manner.’ ‘The external conditions’, writes Einstein, ‘which are set for [the scientist] by the facts of experience do not permit him to let himself be too much restricted, in the construction of his conceptual world, by the adherence to an epistemological system. He, therefore, must appear to the systematic epistemologist as a type of unscrupulous opportunist … .’ A complex medium containing surprising and unforeseen developments demands complex procedures and defies analysis on the basis of rules which [p11] have been set up in advance and without regard to the ever-changing conditions of history.
I agree with Feyeraband that we do not understand intuition. It is not intelligence, but a particular type of nimbleness which allows us to come up with totally new abstractions.
[p10] [Footnote] 5. ibid. We see here very clearly how a few substitutions can turn a political lesson into a lesson for methodology. This is not at all surprising. Methodology and politics are both means for moving from one historical stage to another. We also see how an individual, such as Lenin, who is not intimidated by traditional boundaries and whose thought is not tied to the ideology of a particular profession, can give useful advice to everyone, philosophers of science included. In the 19th century the idea of an elastic and historically informed methodology was a matter of course. Thus Ernst Mach wrote in his book Erkenntnis und Irrtum, Neudruck, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, 1980, p. 200: ‘It is often said that research cannot be taught. That is quite correct, in a certain sense. The schemata of formal logic and of inductive logic are of little use for the intellectual situations are never exactly the same. But the examples of great scientists are very suggestive.’ They are not suggestive because we can abstract rules from them and subject future research to their jurisdiction; they are suggestive because they make the mind nimble and capable of inventing entirely new research traditions.
It is interesting how he corrects himself in this 3rd edition. I don’t believe that reason contradicts anarchy. To my mind, true anarchy means that we are reasonable people, and can discuss things. Anarchy is not nihlism.
[p13] Let us, therefore, start with our outline of an anarchistic methodology and a corresponding anarchistic science. There is no need to fear that the diminished concern for law and order in science and society that characterizes an anarchism of this kind will lead to chaos. The human nervous system is too well organized for that. There may, of course, come a time when it will be necessary to give reason a temporary advantage and when it will be wise to defend its rules to the exclusion of everything else. I do not think that we are living in such a time today. [Footnote 12] This was my opinion in 1970 when I wrote the first version of this essay. Times have changed. Considering some tendencies in US education (‘politically correct’, academic menus, etc.), in philosophy (postmodemism) and in the world at large I think that reason should now be given greater weight not because it is and always was fundamental but because it seems to be needed, in circumstances that occur rather frequently today (but may disappear tomorrow), to create a more humane approach.
[p14] This is shown both by an examination of historical episodes and by an abstract analysis of the relation between idea and action. The only principle that does not inhibit progress is: anything goes.
[p14] This liberal practice, I repeat, is not just a fact of the history of science. It is both reasonable and absolutely necessary for the growth of knowledge. More specifically, one can show the following: given any rule, however ‘fundamental’ or ‘rational’, there are always circumstances when it is advisable not only to ignore the rule, but to adopt its opposite.
I always find it interesting to see programmers talk about a particularly elegant program. First, programmers disagree about even the most simple example. Second, it’s always in hindsight, and it’s part of the presentation, i.e., what’s popular is often more elegant than what we encounter in our every day code.
[p15] [Footnote 1] Now science is never a completed process, therefore it is always ‘before’ the event. Hence simplicity, elegance or consistency are never necessary conditions of (scientific) practice.
[p17] Creation of a thing, and creation plus full understanding of a correct_idea of the thing, are_very_often_parts_of_one_and_the_same_indivisible_process and cannot be separated without bringing the process to a stop. The process itself is not guided by a well-defined programme, and cannot be guided by such a programme, for it contains the conditions for the realization of all possible programmes. It is guided rather by a vague urge, by a ‘passion’ (Kierkegaard). The passion gives rise to specific behaviour which in turn creates the circumstances and the ideas necessary for analysing and explaining the process, for making it ‘rational’.
[p17] And this is not an exception – it is the nonnal case: theories become clear and ‘reasonable’ only after incoherent parts of them have been used for a long time. Such [p18] unreasonable, nonsensical, unmethodical foreplay thus turns out to be an unavoidable precondition of clarity and of empirical success.
Now, when we attempt to describe and to understand developments of this kind in a general way, we are, of course, obliged to appeal to the existing forms of speech which do not take them into account and which must be distorted, misused, beaten into new patterns in order to fit unforeseen situations (without a constant misuse of language there cannot be any discovery, any progress). ‘Moreover, since the traditional categories are the gospel of everyday thinking (including ordinary scientific thinking) and of everyday practice, [such an attempt at understanding] in effect presents rules and forms of false thinking and action - false, that is, from the standpoint of (scientific) common sense.’2 This is how dialectical_thinking arises as a form of thought that ‘dissolves into nothing the detailed determinations of the understanding’, formal logic included.
This is a bit confusing to me. I don’t see how he discredits refutation here (which I believe he’s attempting to do). I read this as refuting the idea that theories can be “true”, which very much agrees with Popper.
[p20] I shall first examine the counterrule that urges us to develop hypotheses inconsistent with accepted and highly confirmed theories. Later on I shall examine the counterrule that urges us to develop hypotheses inconsistent with well-established facts. The results may be summarized as follows.
In the first case it emerges that the evidence that might refute a theory can often be unearthed only with the help of an incompatible alternative: the advice (which goes back to Newton and which is still very popular today) to use alternatives only when refutations have already discredited the orthodox theory puts the cart before the horse.
[p29] John Stuart Mill has given a fascinating account of the gradual transformation of revolutionary ideas into obstacles to thought. When a new view is proposed it faces a hostile audience and excellent reasons are needed to gain for it an even moderately fair hearing. The reasons are produced, but they are often disregarded or laughed out of court, and unhappiness is the fate of the bold inventors. But new generations, being interested in new things, become curious; they consider the reasons, pursue them further and groups of researchers initiate detailed studies. The studies may lead to surprising successes (they also raise lots of difficulties).
[p122] [Footnote] 17. A few years ago Martin Gardner, the pitbull of scientism, published an article with the tide’ Anti-Science, the Strange Case of Paul Feyerabend’ Critical Inquiry, Winter 1982/83. The valiant fighter seems to have overlooked these and other passages. I am not against science. I praise its foremost practitioners and (next chapter) suggest that their procedures be adopted by philosophers. What I object to is narrow-minded philosophical interference and a narrow-minded extension of the latest scientific fashions to all areas of human endeavour - in short what I object to is a rationalistic interpretation and defence of science.
[p130] The Roman Church in addition claimed to possess the exclusive rights of exploring, interpreting and applying Holy Scripture. Lay people, according to the teaching of the Church, had neither the knowledge nor the authority to tamper with Scripture and they were forbidden to do so. This comment, whose rigidity was a result of the new Tridentine Spirit, should not surprise anyone familiar with the habits of powerful institutions. The attitude of the American Medical Association towards lay practitioners is as rigid as the attitude of the Church was towards lay interpreters - and it has the blessing of the law. Experts, or ignoramuses having acquired the formal insignia of expertise, always tried and often succeeded in securing for themselves exclusive rights in special domains. Any criticism of the rigidity of the Roman Church applies also to its modem scientific and science-connected successors.
[p132] [Footnote] 17. In a widely discussed letter which Cardinal Roberto Bel1armino, master of controversial questions at the Collegio Romano, wrote on 12 April 1615 to Paolo Antonio Foscarini, a Carmelite monk from Naples who had inquired about the reality of the Copernican system, we find the fol1owing passage (Finocchiaro, op. cit., p. 68): ‘ … if there were a true demonstration that the sun is at the center of the world and the earth in the third heaven, and that the sun does not circle the earth but the earth circles the sun, then one would have to proceed with great care in explaining the Scriptures that appear contrary, and 51!)’ rather that we do not understand them than that what is demonstrated is false. But I wil1 not believe that there is such a demonstration, until it is shown me. Nor is it the same to demonstrate that by supposing the sun to be at the center and the earth in heaven one can save the appearances, and to demonstrate that in truth the sun is at the center and the earth in heaven; for I believe the first demonstration may be available, but I have very great doubts about the second, and in case of doubt we must not abandon the Holy Scripture as interpreted by the Holy Fathers.’
I find the all caps NO rather odd. Feyerabend writes so forcefully, you wouldn’t think he’d need to resort to “fear caps”. Is there doubt here?
[p154] In the present essay I shall restrict myself to the second question and I shall ask: is it possible to have both a science as we know it and the rules of a critical rationalism as just described? And to this question the answer seems to be a firm and resounding NO.
Here is a typical attack on Popper (and Lakatos). Any methodology, even no methodology, is an attempt at “fiat” in my opinion. I particularly don’t like Feyerabend’s truth-tizzy, which has nothing to do with Popper (who claims there can never be truth, only verisimilitude). I wholeheartedly agree that we are constantly changing our interpretation of our perceptions and therefore new conceptions are continually arising. I think Lakatos made an important point that it is important we be “fair” when we compare theories, experiments, discussions, etc. That means holding multiple points of view in your head and evaluating and discussing them openly. This is the most reasonable approach to progress, but we have yet to achieve that – I, for one, find it difficult to truly consider other points of view.
[p169] Now is it reasonable to expect that conceptual and perceptual changes of this kind occur in childhood only? Should we welcome the fact, if it is a fact, that an adult is stuck with a stable perceptual world and an accompanying stable conceptual system, which he can modify in many ways but whose general oudines have forever become immobilized? Or is it not more realistic to assume that fundamental changes, entailing incommensurability, are still possible and that they should be encouraged lest we remain forever excluded from what might be a higher stage of knowledge and consciousness? Besides, the question of the mobility of the adult stage is at any rate an empirical question that must be attacked by research, and cannot be settled by methodological fiat. The attempt to break through the boundaries of a given conceptual system is an essential part of such research (it also should be an essential part of any interesting life).
Such an attempt involves much more than a prolonged ‘critical discussion’ as some relics of the enlightenment would have us believe. One must be able to produce and to grasp new perceptual and conceptual relations, including relations which are not immediately apparent (covert relations - see above) and that cannot be achieved by a critical discussion alone (cf. also above, Chapters 1 and 2). The orthodox accounts neglect the covert relations that contribute to their meaning, disregard perceptual changes and treat the rest in a rigidly standardized way so that any debate of unusual ideas is at once stopped by a series of routine responses. But now this whole array of responses is in doubt. Every concept that occurs in it is suspect, especially ‘fundamental’ concepts such as ‘observation’, ‘test’, and, of course, the concept ‘theory’ itself. And as regards the word ‘truth’, we can at this stage only say that it certainly has people in a tizzy, but has not achieved much else. The best way to proceed in such circumstances is to use examples which are outside the range of the routine responses. It is for this reason that I have decided to examine means of representation different from languages or theories and to develop my terminology in connection with them. More especially, I shall examine styles in painting and drawing. It will emerge that there [p170] are no ‘neutral’ objects which can be represented in any style, and which measure its closeness to ‘reality’. The application to languages is obvious.
Feyerabend here demonstrates his black and white tendencies. Reason probably contributed to the growth of science. Finding a counterexample to Feyerabend’s claim is probably trivial. I don’t have one handy, because I think of most scientists are reasoning and reasonable.
[p214] Neither science nor rationality are universal measures of excellence. They are particular traditions, unaware of their historical grounding.
So far I have tried to show that reason, at least in the form in which it is defended by logicians, philosophers and some scientists, does not fit science and could not have contributed to its growth. This is a good argument against those who admire science and are also slaves of reason. They must now make a choice. They can keep science; they can keep reason; they cannot keep both.
[p218] Few individuals and groups are pragmatists in the sense just described and one can see why: it is very difficult to see one’s own most cherished ideas in perspective, as parts of a changing and, perhaps, absurd tradition. Moreover this inability not only exists, it is also encouraged as an attitude proper to those engaged in the study and the improvement of man, society, knowledge. Hardly any religion has ever presented itself just as something worth trying. The claim is much stronger: the religion is the truth, everything else is error and those who know it, understand it but still reject it are rotten to the core (or hopeless idiots).
[p227] There are therefore at least two_different_ways_of_collectively_deciding_an_issue which I shall call a guided exchange and an open exchange respectively.
In the first case some or all participants adopt a well-specified tradition and accept only those responses that correspond to its standards. If one party has not yet become a participant of the chosen tradition he will be badgered, persuaded, ‘educated’ until he does and then the exchange begins. Education is separated from decisive debates, it occurs at an early stage and guarantees that the grown-ups will behave properly. A rational_debate is a special case of a guided exchange. If the participants are rationalists then all is well and the debate can start right away. If only some participants are rationalists and if they have power (an important consideration I) then they will not take their collaborators seriously until they have also become rationalists: a society based on rationality is not entirely free; one has to play the game of the intellectuals. [Footnote 10] ‘It is perhaps hardly necessary to say’, says John Stuart Mill, ‘that this doctrine (pluralism of ideas and institutions) is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties’ - i.e. to fellow intellectuals and their pupils.
An open exchange, on the other hand, is guided by a pragmatic philosophy. The tradition adopted by the parties is unspecified in the [p228] beginning and develops as the exchange proceeds. The participants get immersed into each other’s ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving to such an extent that their ideas, perceptions, world-views may be entirely changed - they become different people participating in a new and different tradition. An open exchange respects the partner whether he is an individual or an entire culture, while a rational exchange promises respect only within the framework of a rational debate. An open exchange has no organon though it may invent one, there is no logic though new forms oflogic may emerge in its course. An open exchange establishes connections between different traditions and transcends the relativism of points iii and iv. However, it transcends it in a way that cannot be made objective but depends in an unforeseeable manner on the (historical, psychological, material) conditions in which it occurs. (Cf. also the last paragraph of Chapter 16.)
[p229] viii. that a_free_society_will_not_be_imposed_but_will_emerge only_where_people_engaging_in_an_open_exchange (cf. vi above) introduce_protective_structures_of_the_kind_alluded_to. Citizen initiatives on a small scale, collaboration between nations on a larger scale are the developments I have in mind. The United States are not a free society in the sense described here.
ix. The_debates_settling_the_structure_of_a_free_society_are_open debates_not_guided_debates. This does not mean that the concrete developments described under the last thesis already use open debates, it means that they could use them and that rationalism is not a necessary ingredient of the basic structure of a free society.
The results for science are obvious. Here we have a particular tradition, ‘objectively’ on par with all other traditions (theses i and vii). Its results will appear magnificent to some traditions, execrable to others, barely worth a yawn to still further traditions. Of course, our well-conditioned materialistic contemporaries are liable to burst with excitement over events such as the moonshots, the double helix, non-equilibrium thermodynamics. But let us look at the maller from a different point of view, and it becomes a ridiculous exercise in futility. It needed billions of dollars, thousands of well-trained assistants, years of hard work to enable some inarticulate and rather limited contemporaries 11 to perform a few graceless hops in a place nobody in his right mind would think of visiting - a dried out, airless, hot stone. But mystics, using only their minds, travelled across the celestial spheres to God himself, whom they viewed in all his splendour, receiving strength for continuing their lives and enlightenment for themselves and their fellow men. It is only the illiteracy of the general public and of their stern trainers, the intellectuals, and their amazing lack of imagination that makes them reject such comparisons without further ado. A free society does not object to such an attitude but it will not permit it to become a basic ideology either.
x. A_free_society_insists_on_the_separation_of_science_and_society. More about this topic in Chapter 19.
[p233] Now when scientists become accustomed to treating theories in a certain way, when they forget the reasons for this treattnent but simply regard it as the ‘essence of science’ or as an ‘important part of what it means to be scientific’, when philosophers aid them in their forgetfulness by systematizing the familiar procedures and showing how they flow from an abstract theory of rationality then the theories needed to show the shortcomings of the underlying standards will not be introduced or, if they are introduced, will not be taken seriously. They will not be taken seriously because they clash with customary habits and systematizations thereof.
[p252] The point of view underlying this book is not the result of a well-planned train of thought but of arguments prompted by accidental encounters. Anger at the wanton destruction of cultural achievements from which we all could have learned, at the conceited assurance with which some intellectuals interfere with the lives of people, and contempt for the treacly phrases they use to embellish their misdeeds was and still is the motive force behind my work.
[p254] I also begain suspecting that what counts in public debate are not arguments but [p255] certain ways of presenting one’s case. To test the suspicion I intervened in the debates defending absurd views with great assurance. I was consumed by fear - after all, I was just a student surrounded by bigshots - but having once attended an acting school I proved the case to my satisfaction. The difficulties of scientific rationality were made very clear by
(3) Felix Ehrenhaji, who arrived in Vienna in 1947. We, the students of physics, mathematics, astronomy, had heard a lot about him. We knew that he was an excellent experimenter and that his lectures were performances on a grand scale which his assistants had to prepare for hours in advance.
[p261] While in Bristol I continued my studies of the quantum theory. I found that important physical principles rested on methodological assumptions that are violated whenever physics advances: physics gets authority from ideas it propagates but never obeys in actual research, methodologists play the role of publicity agents whom physicists hire to praise their results but whom they would not pennit access to the enterprise itself. That falsificationism is not a solution became very [p262] clear in discussions with David Bohm who gave a Hegelian account of the relation between theories, their evidence, and their successors. The material of Chapter 3 is the result of these discussions (I first published it in 1961). Kuhn’s remarks on the omnipresence of anomalies fitted these difficulties rather nicelyll but I still tried to find general rules that would cover all cases and non-scientific developments as well.
Why should we not offer information to all cultures? What does robbing their ancestors have anything to do with how we communicate with them today? What does tradition override anything? Romanticism is not a solution to the communication problem we have today. Romanticism separates people, and often leads to war.
[p263] From 1958 to 1990 I was a Professor of Philosophy at the University of California in Berkeley. My function was to carry out the educational policies of the State of California which means I had to teach people what a small group of white intellectuals had decided was knowledge. I hardly ever thought about this function and I would not have taken it very seriously had I been informed. I told the students what I had learned, I arranged the material in a way that seemed plausible and interesting to me - and that was all I did. Of course, [had also some ‘ideas afmy own’ - but these ideas moved in a fairly narrow domain (though some of my friends said even then that I was going batty).
In the years around 1964 Mexicans, blacks, Indians entered the university as a result of new educational policies. There they sat, partly curious, partly disdainful, partly simply confused hoping to get an ‘education’. What an opportunity for a prophet in search of a following! What an opportunity, my rationalist friends told me, to contribute to the spreading of reason and the improvement of mankind! What a marvellous opportunity for a new wave of enlightenment! I felt very differently. For it now dawned on me that [p264] the intricate arguments and the wonderful stories I had so far told to my more or less sophisticated audience might just be dreams, reflections of the conceit of a small group who had succeeded in enslaving everyone else with their ideas. Who was I to tell these people what and how to think? I did not know their problems though I knew they had many. I was not familiar with their interests, their feelings, their fears though I knew that they were eager to learn. Were the arid sophistications which philosophers had managed to accumulate over the ages and which liberals had surrounded with schmaltzy phrases to make them palatable the right thing to offer to people who had been robbed of their land, their culture, their dignity and who were now supposed first to absorb and then to repeat the anaemic ideas of the mouthpieces of their oh so human captors? They wanted to know, they wanted to learn, they wanted to understand the strange world around them - did they not deserve better nourishment?
Slaves were brought by conquering tribes. Do we want tribes to live “as they see fit?” How, what, where? Do we let them have nuclear weapons, if they see fit? The strongest survive so were the Aztecs or Spaniards? Do we let their leaders abuse their people? Do we give the Americas back to the Aztecs and allow them to subjugate all the other native american tribes?
[p265] I wanted to know how intellectuals manage to get away with murder - for it is murder, murder of minds and cultures that is committed year in year out at schools, universities, educational missions in foreign countries. The trend must be reversed, I thought, we must start learning from those we have enslaved for they have much to offer and, at any rate, they have the right to live as they see fit even if they are not as pushy about their rights and their views as their Western conquerors have always been. In 1964-5 when these ideas first occurred to me I tried to find an intellectual solution to my misgivings, that is, 1 took it for granted that it was up to me and the likes of me to devise educational policies for other people. I envisaged a new kind of education that would live from a rich reservoir of different points of view permitting the choice of traditions most advantageous to the individual. The teacher’s task would consist in facilitating the choice, not in replacing it by some ‘truth’ of his own. Such a reservoir, I thought, would have much in common with a theatre of ideas as imagined by Piscator and Brecht and it would lead to the development of a great variety of means of presentation. The ‘objective’ scientific account would be one way of presenting a case, a play another way (remember that for Aristode tragedy is ‘more philosophical’ than history because it reveals the structure of
What is left “nihlism”?
[p266] I now realize that these considerations were just another example of intellectualistic conceit and folly. It is conceited to assume that one has solutions for people whose lives one does not share and whose problems one does not know. It is foolish to assume that such an exercise in distant humanitarianism will have effects pleasing to the people concerned. From the very beginning of Western Rationalism intellectuals have regarded themselves as teachers, the world as a school and ‘people’ as obedient pupils. In Plato this is very clear. The same phenomenon occurs among Christians, Rationalists, F ascislS, Marxists. Marxists did not try to learn from those they wanted to liberate; they attacked each other about interpretations, viewpoints, evidence and took it for granted that the resulting intellectual hash would make fine food for the natives (Bakunin was aware of the doctrinarian tendencies of contemporary Marxism and he intended to return all power - power over ideas included - to the people immediately concerned). My own view differed from those just mentioned but it was still a view, an abstract fancy I had invented and now tried to sell without having shared even an ounce of the lives of [p267] the receivers. This I now regard as insufferable conceit. So
- what remains?
Two things remain. I could follow my own advice to address and try to influence only those people whom I think I understand on a personal basis. This includes some of my friends; it may include philosophers I have not met but who seem to be interested in similar problems and who arc not too upset by my style and my general approach. It may also include people from different cultures who are attracted, even fascinated by Western science and Western intellectual life, who have started participating in it but who still remember, in thought as well as in feeling the life of the culture they left behind. My account might lessen the emotional tension they are liable to feel and make them see a way of uniting, rather than opposing to each other, the various stages of their lives.
Another possibility is a change of subject. I started my career as a student of acting, theatre production and singing at the Institute for the Methodological Reformation of the German Theatre in the German Democratic Republic. This appealed to my intellectualism and my dramatic propensities. My intellectualism told me that problems had to be solved by thought. My dramatic propensities made me think that hamming it up was better than going through an abstract argument. There is of course no conflict here for argument without illustration leads away from the human elements which affect the most abstract problems. The arts, as I see them today, are not a domain separated from abstract thought, but complementary to it and needed to fully realize its potential. Examining this function of the arts and trying to establish a mode of research that unites their power with that of science and religion seems to be a fascinating enterprise and one to which I might devote a year (or two, or three … ).