Conquest of abundance



Publication Details

Hutto, D. D. (2002). Conquest of abundance. Philosophical Investigations, 25 (4), 365-370.


It is said that 'Variety is the spice of life' - and if Feyerabend were to have his way this motto would be readily adopted by philosophers when approaching questions of reality. We live in a rich and varied world, which is, ". . . abundant beyond our wildest imagination" (p. 3). Yet this goes generally unnoticed, due to our concern to sift 'reality' from 'appearance' and 'essence' from 'accident'. Once we begin to employ such simple dichotomies as these, instead of recognising and tolerantly respecting various genuine alternatives among those possible for living, thinking about and engaging with things, we misrepresent the nature of the world and our relation to it. In the hope of developing a single, uniform account of things, we disregard all that will not fit with it or reduce to it. Although this is often billed as progress towards the 'real', it is in fact nothing but a bias in favour of one way of seeing things over others. It constitutes a self-imposed blindness, which is not only na|«ve but dangerous and oppressive. These are the central messages of Feyerabend's final book, which is a weaving together of two of his unfinished manuscripts that expand on themes and case studies explored in a number of his earlier articles, several of which are republished in the volume.

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