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Daniel Kuby

Born 1982 in Munich, he grew up in Venice, where he enrolled at the University Ca’ Foscari studying philosophy. He continued studying philosophy, sociology and history of science at the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main and at the University of Vienna, where he gained his degree in philosophy. His current area of specialization is the history and philosophy of science (HPS).

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Research Project: Feyerabend's Decision-Based Epistemology: From Logical Empiricism to the Historical Turn in Philosophy of Science.

My dissertation project investigates Paul Feyerabend's scientific and philosophical formative years in both an historical and systematic fashion. In seeming contrast to its later iconoclastic work in philosophy of science, his formative years are rooted in the tradition of scientific philosophy. Based on these findings, I put forward a novel interpretation of Feyerabend’s philosophy and its development, showing multiple ways in which the "positivist" Feyerabend is connected to the "post-positivist" Feyerabend.

My first aim is to interpret Feyerabend’s early philosophical proposals as an attempt to revive a specific conception of scientific philosophy, in which classical epistemological questions are mainly reinterpreted in terms of empirical research questions, logical analysis and pragmatic means-ends relations. As the development of scientific philosophy came to a sudden halt when most of its proponents were banned from all over Europe in the 1930s, I will reconstruct multiple ways trough which Feyerabend became acquainted with scientific conceptions of philosophy. His own engagement with scientific philosophy is to be reconstructed, particularly his activity within the Kraft-Circle, where he engaged in the continuation of the interrupted protocol sentence debate of the Vienna Circle, to which his dissertation Zur Theorie der Basissätze (1951) is a belated contribution. I will show that many epistemological theses put forward by Feyerabend in the 1950s, 1960s up to Against Method (1975) are a consequence of his development of particular logical empiricist's proposals.

My second aim is to account for Feyerabend's changing philosophical views, particularly his normative task in philosophy of science and its subsequent demise. To this end I develop an interpretation that emphasizes the role of "practical reason" in Feyerabend’s early philosophy and embeds his philosophical approach into a voluntarist tradition of scientific philosophy. Proponents of this tradition highlight the role of volitional decisions in science and its philosophy. I trace his earliest encounter with voluntarism - a rather extreme form thereof - to his adolescence, when he was caught by the work of the (by now forgotten) philosopher Hugo Dingler. Feyerabend’s strong conception of normativity can be understood as an extreme form of Decision-Based Epistemology (DBE) and his changing attitude towards philosophy of science and the historical turn can be explained as a partial retreat from this radical position. I will show that this change is possibly the result of Feyerabend's technical work in the interpretation of quantum mechanics, as well as his research in history of science.


Kuby, D. (2013). Review of ‘Paul Feyerabend, The Tyranny of Science. Edited by Eric Oberheim. Cambridge: Polity Press 2011. Pp. xii + 153’. Maria Carla Galavotti, Elisabeth Nemeth, Friedrich Stadler (eds.): European Philosophy of Science – Philosophy of Science in Europe and the Viennese Heritage. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 17. Dordrecht: Springer 2013.

Kuby, D. (2010). Paul Feyerabend in Wien 1946-1955: Das Österreichische College und der Kraft-Kreis. In: Benedikt, M., Knoll, R., Schwediauer, F. & Zehetner, C.  (Ed.): Auf der Suche nach authentischem Philosophieren. Philosophie in Österreich 1951–2000. Verdrängter Humanismus - verzögerte Aufklärung. Bd. VI. Wien: WUV.

Kuby, D.,  Limbeck-Lilienau, C. & Schorner, M. (2010). Editorische Anmerkungen zum Vortrag 'Die Dogmen des Logischen Empirismus' von Paul Feyerabend. In: F. Stadler (Ed.): Vertreibung, Transformation und Rückkehr der Wissenschaftstheorie. Am Beispiel von Rudolf Carnap und Wolfgang Stegmüller. Mit einem Manuskript von Paul Feyerabend über “Die Dogmen des logischen Empirismus” aus dem Nachlass. Reihe: Emigration - Exil - Kontinuität - Schriften zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte. Bd. 10. Münster-Wien: LIT Verlag 2010.

Cooperation: Bertani, C (2009). Corrispondenza scelta di Ludovico Geymonat con filosofi italiani e stranieri. In: Minazzi, F. (Ed). Ludovico Geymonat un maestro del Novecento. Il filosofo, il partigiano e il docente. Milano: Unicopli.

Forthcoming: Invited contribution in: Ian Kidd and Matthew Brown (eds.), Reappraising Feyerabend, special issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, to appear in 2013.

DK Program The Sciences in Historical, Philosophical and Cultural Contexts
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