In the closing chapter of "Against Method", Feyerabend states that:
"Science is neither a single tradition, nor the best tradition there is, except for people who have become accustomed to its presence, its benefits and its disadvantages. In a democracy it should be separated from the state just as churches are now separated from the state."
In the rest of the chapter he continues developing his 'science is not special and is driven by social and historical factors' viewpoint. At one point he seems almost contradictory, when he describes how Japan went from being a weak nation to being a strong nation by adopting the scientific worldview, but still maintaining that science is special only to scientists, and not to society as a whole. He states
"On the other hand, we can agree that in a world full of scientific products scientists may be given a special status just as henchmen had a special status at times of social disorder [...]"
"[...] a uniform 'scientific worldview' maybe useful for people doing science...However, it is a disaster for others." (the italics are his).
What I fail to grasp here is:
- Is Feyerabend contradicting himself? Science is useful sometimes, and can allow a nation to go from being a primitive nation to an advanced one, but is still special only to scientists and a disaster for others? If it allows nations to develop then isn't it useful beyond its own domain, regardless of how others feel about that?
- If science is to be separated from the state just as the church is, what epistemic principle is left for leaders to base their decisions on? If the FDA can't use science to legislate for drugs and food safety, then what should it use? financial profit? social considerations? Aesthetic values? And what about environmental policies? If science is separate from the state, how should environmental policy decisions be made? What is Feyerabend advocating here, other than complete anarchy and relativism?