Continuing the list of points of convergence between Feyerabend’s LAST INTERVIEW (FLI) and Deleuze’s PERICLES ET VERDI (P&V)
2) dealing with Joachim Jung uses the expression in his questions to Feyerabend, and Feyerabend lets it pass. As he has no qualms in correcting Jung’s vocabulary when he doesn’t like it, I take this letting pass for tacit acceptance. This expression, “dealing with”, is a good translation for “gérer”, which is one of Deleuze’s key concepts in P&V. Another term which Deleuze employs as a synonym is “establishing human relations” (“instaurer des rapports humains”), to which he adds “inventing a process of rationalisation”, which in turn he treats as a synonnym for politics:
“we invent a process of rationalisation whenever we establish human relations in any material, in any group, in any multiplicity. The act itself, being a relation, is always political. Reason as a process is political” (P&V, p9).
I think that a first example of this idea is in von Weizsäcker’s refusal to give an abstract, rationally unified account of quantum theory nor even a rational reconstruction of its history. He told a story, the story of all the “many little steps being made” (FLI, p162). Feyerabend concluded that abstract arguments don’t count when you “deal with something which is as rich as nature or other human beings” (FLI, p162, my italics). So Feyerabend abandoned the idea of a “systematic account” and embedded his ideas in a larger context historical and social forces, feelings and intuitions, catastrophes and serendipities. He felt the need not for slogans (such as, according to him rationalism provides), but for stories:
“I didn’t teach anything. I told stories. I never gave a systematic account of everything. I was giving lectures, I told stories” (FLI, p162).
These stories allowed him to recount not just the concepts and arguments that were employed in science and philosophy, but the human relations. This is a constant theme in Feyerabend’s work, deriving from his observation that
“argument without illustration leads away from the human elements which affect the most abstract human problems” (AGAINST METHOD, p281).
Philosophy considered as the search for a systematic account leads away from the human elements and relations that make life interesting and worth living. And it is not just the systematic account that Feyerabend holds in horror, but the whole system of administrating our knowledge, our research, and our lives. This is behind his rejection of normal science and it is responsible for his demands for freedom of publication and of curriculum, and his outrage at the power and remuneration of administrators and bureaucrats at the expense of those that they administer into silence , sterility, or exclusion.