Cover image for Scientific irrationalism : origins of a postmodern cult
Scientific irrationalism : origins of a postmodern cult
Stove, D. C. (David Charles)
Uniform Title:
Anything goes
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, NJ : Transaction Publishers, [2001]

Physical Description:
218 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Anything goes. [Australia] : Macleay Publishers, 1998.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Q175 .S827 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Little known outside his native Australia, David Stove was one of the most illuminating and brilliant philosophical essayists of his era. A fearless attacker of intellectual and cultural orthodoxies, Stove left powerful critiques of scientific irrationalism, Darwinian theories of human behavior, and philosophical idealism.

Since its inception in the 1940s, the field of science studies, originally intended to bridge the gap between science and the humanities, has been the center of controversy and debate. The most notable figures in this debate are Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. In Scientific Irrationalism, now available in paperback, David Stove demonstrates how extravagant has been the verbiage wasted on this issue and how irrational the combatants have been. He shows that Kuhn and Popper share considerable common ground. Stove argues that the problems all reside in the reasoning of the critics. He identifies the logical mistakes and conceptual allusions made by Kuhn and Popper and their supporters, as well as their collective dependency on a single argument made by the philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment, David Hume. He then demonstrates how little potency that argument actually has for the claims of science.

In his foreword, Keith Windschuttle explains the debate surrounding the field of science studies and explores David Stove's contribution as well as his lack of recognition. In an afterword, James Franklin discusses reactions to Stove's work.

Author Notes

David Stove taught philosophy at the University of New South Wales & until his retirement in 1988, at the University of Sydney.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is a new edition of the late David Stove's celebrated Popper and After (1982). Stove contended that Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, and Paul Feyerabend twisted the meanings of terms such as "knowledge," "discovery," and "truth," persuading many philosophers and historians of science that science was neither rational nor objective. These irrationalists, Stove thought, assumed not only that truth is relative but that one can "discover" or "know" something to be the case even when it is not. But knowledge, standardly construed, implies truth. Thus nobody can know that something is the case unless it actually is; whatever is discovered must in fact obtain; and if a proposition is true, the default position is correspondence-with-reality instead of the "true-for" of relativists. Using rhetoric, irrationalists emptied those terms of their standard connotations and presented their conclusions as plausible. Stove traced the cause of such views to Hume's skepticism about induction--like Hume, irrationalists were victims of "deductivism"--but when that prejudice is abandoned, induction can be seen to support the rationality and objectivity of science. Whatever one thinks of the thesis, this book certainly broaches current topics in the philosophy of science with provocative arguments. It also contains a clear introduction by Keith Windschuttle and an interesting summary by James Franklin of the repercussions of the original edition. All readership groups. S. Nuccetelli St. Cloud State University

Table of Contents

Keith WindschuttleJames Franklin
Forewordp. 1
Part 1 Philosophy and the English Language: How Irrationalism About Science is Made Credible
1 Neutralising success wordsp. 21
2 Sabotaging logical expressionsp. 51
Part 2 How Irrationalism About Science Began
3 The historical source locatedp. 91
4 The key premise of irrationalism locatedp. 111
5 Further evidence for this identificationp. 161
Afterwordp. 195
Notesp. 199
Bibliographyp. 208
Indexp. 215