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Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend Hardcover – May 15, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 203 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226245314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226245317
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If you view the Philosophy professor as a stodgy old curmudgeon wrapped up in theories, and forever spouting eminently sensible nonsense, Paul Feyerabend's autobiography may change your view. Then again, it may not, because he held the same view himself. Iconoclast, non-conformist and brilliant philosopher, Feyerabend reveals his roots through unadorned, journalist-style prose -- his childhood in Vienna, his aspirations to sing opera, his stint in World War II as a German soldier, his time with Popper in London, his love affairs, marriage and even a little philosophy for good measure. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
Paul Feyerabend was not only an important thinker or philosopher, I was also an interesting human being.
Vladimir pintro
It is a delight to read his rapt eulogies on the companion of the last decade of his life, on his most fortunate discovery of true love and friendship.
Philippe Vandenbroeck
Imagine tears of compassion after reading the words of that anarchist maniac who wrote "Against Method"!!
Anna Noehre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Anna Noehre on September 29, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Typical Feyerabend arrogance, spiced with unbearable charm. Brimming with intimate details of his sexual experiences, fighting with the Nazi Army on the Western Front, his lifelong (almost) apathy toward academic philosophy, and his real passion: opera singing. Philosophy, it turns out, was "just a job." I had *no* idea that Paul Feyerabend once possessed a "world voice" for opera. It was opera he loved. About 1/3 of the story is about operas he'd seen worldwide, who sang the roles, his critical opinion of the singing!
Also includes his bookish, only-child upbringing; his horribly depressed mother and her suicide in his teens; his adult depressions; his affairs and marriages; and finally, his mature love for the beautiful Graziana, which allowed him some actual truth in this life. It ends with Graziana's reminder that most of Feyerabend's life was spent in chronic pain, the result of a gunshot to his groin during the Nazi retreat from Russia. That was the injury which rendered him sexually impotent at 20 - a recurring theme in the story.
By the last page, I was in tears. Imagine tears of compassion after reading the words of that anarchist maniac who wrote "Against Method"!! But tears there were. It's a very good book.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Vladimir pintro on September 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most touching autobiography I have read. Paul Feyerabend was not only an important thinker or philosopher, I was also an interesting human being. It is not, however, so much his story that is intriguing as it is the moral we can draw from his experiences that is illuminating. Perhaps the most valuable counsel he gives us in this book is the following:"If you want to achieve something, if you want to write a book, paint a picture, be sure that the center of your existence is somewhere else and that it's solidly grounded; only then will you be able to keep your cool and laugh at the attacks that are bound to come"(147). I think any student of philosophy, literature and the arts should take this advice to heart. Feyerabend is one of the rare philosophers who realized that, after all, a worthwile life is not one devoted to abstract thinking but one devoted to love. As he says," There are strong inclinations after all;...they are not about abstract things such as solitude or intellectual achievements but about a live human being"(169). I cannot but recommend you to read this very enlightening autobiography. Vladimir Pintro, student of philosophy at S.U.N.Y.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Philippe Vandenbroeck VINE VOICE on November 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a slim volume, barely 200 pages, but it charts an awesome spiritual odyssee. Paul Feyerabend - enfant terrible of late 20th century philosophy - looked ruthlessly in the mirror and painted an unadorned picture of himself. At the end of his life, he painfully recognised that its course had been shaped by absences, rather than by specific events or, for that matter, ideas: absence of purpose, of content, of a focused interest, absence of moral character, absence of warmth and of social relationships.
Only when Feyerabend approached the final fifteen years of his life and settled as a professor in the philosophy of science in Zürich - after having lectured four decades at Anglo-American universities - he started to relax. And eventually, a woman came and set things right. In 1983 he met the Italian physicist Grazia Borrini for the first time. Five years later they married. His relationship with Mrs. Borrini must have been the single most important event in Feyerabend's life. Reading his autobiography is an experience akin to listening to Sibelius' tone-poem 'Nightride and Sunrise': after 1983 the colours change dramatically and his prose is infused with warmth and immense gratefulness. It is a delight to read his rapt eulogies on the companion of the last decade of his life, on his most fortunate discovery of true love and friendship. Indeed, although Feyerabend is not interested in 'spoiling' his autobiography with an extensive reiteration of his philosophical positions, there are a few messages he clearly wants to drive home. The central role in life of love and friendship is one of them. Without these "even the noblest achievements and the most fundamental principles remain pale, empty and dangerous" (p. 173).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Williams on March 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Paul Feyerabend's autobiography is remarkably open and frank, fitting with the way this man wrote, thought, and led his life. Feyerabend was the man who, perhaps more than anyone else, has clearly pointed out that science has become the religion of western culture. His autobiography let me learn a little about what made this man so unafraid of thinking differently from other people. I also found it to be poignant, particularly in the picture of a boy raised without love, who as an adult is captivated by his love of beauty in music and the theater, and who finally begins to grasp what love is at the end of his life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Paul Feyerabend's autobiography is a surprising, wise
perspective on a life shaped by an extraordinary intellect,
chronic pain, and an overwhelming urge to mischief. Most
powerful is his late awareness of human connections, and his
passion for his new wife. Near death, he wrote: "My concern
is that after my departure something remains of me, _not_
papers, _not_ final philosophical declarations, but love....
That is what I would like to happen, not intellectual
survival but the survival of love."
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