Past Meetup

Tomas Petricek on Paul Feyerabend's The Against Method

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It's with great pleasure to announce that we'll have Tomas Petricek (, PhD student at University of Cambridge, functional programer, and F# enthusiast, presenting on the 1975 book -- Against Method: Outline of an Anarchist Theory of Knowledge ( by Paul Feyerabend (

This will be a little different! There's no open-access PDF version of the book around, but you can find at bookstores, Amazon (, or on the Internet... or so I've heard.


How is computer science research done? What we take for granted and what we question? And how do theories in computer science tell us something about the real world? Those are some of the questions that may inspire computer scientist like me (and you!) to look into philosophy of science. I’ll present the work of one of the more extreme (and interesting!) philosophers of science, Paul Feyerabend. In “Against Method”, Feyerabend looks at the history of science and finds that there is no fixed scientific methodology and the only methodology that can encompass the rich history is ‘anything goes’. We see (not only computer) science as a perfect methodology for building correct knowledge, but is this really the case? To quote Feyerabend:

Science is much more 'sloppy' and 'irrational' than its methodological image.

I’ll be mostly talking about Paul Feyerabend’s “Against Method”, but as a computer scientist myself, I’ll insert a number of examples based on my experience with theoretical programming language research. I hope to convince you that looking at philosophy of science is very much worthwhile if we want to better understand what we do and how we do it as computer scientists!


Tomas Petricek ( (@tomaspetricek ( recently submitted his PhD thesis at University of Cambridge on context-aware programming languages. He is active in the functional programming community, contributes to various F# open-source libraries, writes and talks about F# and offers trainings and consulting at fsharpWorks ( When he isn’t writing equations or code, he enjoys reading philosophy of science books and occasionally publishes an essay ( combining philosophy and computer science.


TwoSigma ( - Platinum Sponsor of the New York chapter



Doors open at 7 pm; the presentation will begin at 7:30 pm; and, yes, there will be refreshments of all kinds and pizza.

After Tomas presents the paper, we will open up the floor to discussion and questions.

We hope that you'll read the paper before the meetup, but don't stress if you can't. If you have any questions, thoughts, or related information, please visit our *github-thread (* on the matter.

Additionally, if you have any papers you want to add to the repository above (papers that you love!), please send us a pull request ( Also, if you have any ideas/questions about this meetup or the Papers-We-Love org, just open up an issue.

October's meetup is sponsored by