﻿ Paul Feyerabend on Consistency - Dictionary of Arguments

# Dictionary of Arguments

Consistency, philosophy, logic: The expression of consistency is applied to systems or sets of statements. From a contradictory system any statement can be derived (see ex falso quodlibet). Therefore, contradictory systems are basically useless. It is characteristic of a consistent system that not every statement can be proved within it. See also systems, provability, proofs, calculus, consistency, theories, completeness, validity, expressiveness. Within a system, consistency may be demonstrated, but not beyond the boundaries of this system, since the use of the symbols and the set of possible objects are only defined for this system. Within mathematics, and only there applies that the mathematical objects, which are mentioned in consistent formulas, exist (Hilbert, Über das Unendliche, 1926). See also falsification, verification, existence, well-formed.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 39
Consistency/FeyerabendVsCoherence Theory/Coherence/Feyerabend: the consistency condition, according to which new hypotheses must coincide with accepted theories, is irrational. Diversity of theories is fruitful for science, uniformity paralyzes its critical power.

Theory/Physics/Absence of Contradiction/Duhem/Feyerabend: E.g. the theory of Newton contradicts the case law of Galileo and Kepler's laws. For example, statistical thermodynamics contradict 2nd law of thermodynamics. Wave optics, for example, contradict geometrical optics.
Important Point: this is a logical inconsistency. It is quite possible that the differences of the predictions are so small that they cannot be determined experimentally!
Moreover, the theories are not inconsistent in themselves.
I 40
Consistency Condition/Feyerabend: it is far less generous: it does not eliminate a theory because it contradicts the facts, but because it contradicts a different theory whose confirmed entities it shares. Thus, the still untested part of this theory is made the criterion. The only difference between this criterion and a more recent theory are age and habit!
A defendant of the consistency condition would say that the only real improvement would be the acquisition of new facts.

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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Feyerabend I
Paul Feyerabend
Against Method. Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge, London/New York 1971
German Edition:
Wider den Methodenzwang Frankfurt 1997

Feyerabend II
P. Feyerabend
Science in a Free Society, London/New York 1982
German Edition:
Erkenntnis für freie Menschen Frankfurt 1979

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-05-21