The Structure of Scientific Revolution
TheStructure of Scientific Revolution
TheStructure of Scientific Revolutions
TheScientific revolution is defined as the rapid changes in scientificbeliefs, mathematical and political thought and the socialorganization which occurred in Europe between the 16th and 17thcentury. It saw the formation of conceptual, methodological, andinstitutional tactics which brought about the modern science.
Thestructure of scientific revolutions is about science as explained byThomas S. Kuhn[ CITATION Kuh96 l 2057 ].I find him arguing on a paradigm shift from normal science torevolutionary science. The paradigm shift brought a change in the wayto go about science. This was necessitated by anomalies during therapid change in science. For example, there lacked more accuratepredictions from both the Copernican Revolution and Ptolemaic systemon the planetary positions. I find Kuhn’s paradigm shift notinvolving logical solutions which brought about doubts prompting himto write the 2nd and 3rd editions to clarify his views and curbmisinterpretations.
ThomasKuhn was an American historian, physicist, and an influential sciencephilosopher. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 18, 1922. Hegraduated from The Taft School in 1940 where he became aware ofphysics and mathematics. In the year 1943, he acquired a degree inphysics, in 1946 got master’s degree and in 1949 acquired adoctorate in physics from Harvard University. The three years ofacademic freedom experienced at the University of California are theones that influenced him to pursue the philosophy of science. ‘TheStructure of Scientific Revolutions,’ 1962 is the one that broughtabout his popularity. He married thrice getting three children. Hedied in 1996 from lung cancer[ CITATION Kuh96 l 2057 ].
Inthe book, “s,” I see Kuhnmaking an elaborate argument of scientific revolutions. I find hisstart by focusing on the earlier discussions and the contentions ofthe book. He appreciates that scientific study must be guided by aset of received beliefs. Students must be vigorously prepared toensure a deep grasp of the acquired theories. The usual scienceassumes that scientists know their environment. It thus suppressesfundamental novelties. According to him, scientific revolutions occurwhen anomalies distort the existing tradition of scientific practicecausing a shift in professional commitments to shared assumptions[ CITATION Kuh96 l 2057 ].
Heholds that normal science research is firmly based upon paradigms.Paradigms are agreed on achievements accepted by the scientificcommunity as a foundation for further practice. Mature science mustexperience a paradigm shift. Learners internalize these paradigmswhich bring consensus since they follow the same rules and standardsand a ready direction in research, for instance, how to formulatequestions, determine areas of relevance, and create meaning. However,it’s not clear about the disciplines that have acquired paradigms.Creation of a paradigm involves a process from random collection ofordinary facts to competition of preparadigmatic school andeventually passage to the next generation which may introduce changeswhich must be adopted by the old generation. The paradigm is thenused to create professionals.
Ialso see him asserting that normal science is brought about by astatic paradigm. When paradigms become more successful than others insolving problems normal science tends to actualize them. This meansanomalies are never pursued, and if detected the anomalies areignored, and there are no efforts to invent a new theory. These havedefected in investigations. Normal science experiences the problem ofdetermining significant fact, matching facts with theories andarticulating theories. I see Kuhn stressing that leaving the paradigmmeans stopping to exercise its science.
Kuhngoes on to compare normal science to solving a puzzle. Just likepuzzles which have rules and predetermined outcomes, research alsoaims to establish what is already known. Though the expected resultsmay be lower than the possible outcomes, a project falling outsidethe anticipated results range is considered unsuccessful, and theyare never published. Successful studies enhance the paradigm.Researchers know what they want to establish. Paradigm helps in themethod of choosing problems that can be assumed to have solutions.Research brings about results which expand the scope of paradigmapplication. The method of obtaining results is never clear bringingthe challenge of the puzzle.
Asper the priority of paradigms, he says that determining the paradigmsof a mature scientific community is relatively easy while on theother side rules is not easily established. For instance, scientistscan interpret a paradigm differently, acquire different tacticknowledge and even the attributes shared by a paradigm are not alwaysnoticed easily. This explains why paradigms can be applied withoutrules but not rules without a paradigm from which they are derived.This can best apply in normal science since it is difficult todetermine the rules that guide certain normal science traditions, andalso the fact that scientists do not learn theories and concepts inthe abstract and on their own. Search for rules comes in whenscientist argue on the success of the solutions to fundamentalproblems.
Ifind Kuhn argue that paradigm change is brought about by thefundamental newness of facts. Normal science finds new occurrencesunintended. This leads to the new discovery of new theories byscientists. This crucial novelty of theories breeds to a paradigmshift. It gives the scientist a different view of nature. Althoughnot its intent, normal science causes a paradigm shift. For instance,an initial paradigm helps in successful observations and experiments.Anomalies, therefore, appear only against the paradigm processes. Thelack of theories to solve the desired problems is called a crisis.Similarly, the failure of existing laws also necessitates foralternatives. The lack of successful can be due to mismatch of factsand theories, change in social beliefs or even scholarly criticism.However, these failures mostly are anticipated, and alternatives arenormally set and ready for adoption.
Thomasgoes on to give an insight of how the process of paradigm changetakes place. As normal science tries to compact theory and fact, theinevitable anomalies bring about the crisis. These lead to newtheories and a paradigm shift. Some expected crisis, however, do notaffect the theory, others discredit only the scientist, among otherresponses. He says that counter instances causing crisis must be ofhigh magnitude because crisis are always experienced, or they maylimit the accomplishment of scientists who examined every anomaly andother reasons. There can be no research without a paradigm anddecision involves comparing the existing paradigm and the alternateto nature. I find him assert that the change is reconstructive ratherthan cumulative, changing theories, methods, and rules. This issimply referred to as ‘picking up the other end of the stick’ or‘gestalt shift.` This is the scientific revolution, and it is thetransition from normal to extraordinary research.
Isee Kuhn say that scientific revolution is noncumulative replacingthe whole or part of the old paradigm by an incompatible novel one.He compares scientific revolution to political revolution in thatjust like scientific revolution, and political revolution begins withthe failure to solve the challenges in their environments, thendissatisfaction with the section of the political community,political revolutions then strive to change political institutions.This continues to deepen the crisis leading to the formation ofcompeting parties. The parties fight over changing and retaining thepolitical systems which eventually lead the adoption of thetechniques of mass persuasion. Similarly, the adoption of a newscientific theory must lead to an extinction of the older paradigm.
Nevertheless,Kuhn faces objection. This is based on the several arguments thatonly the extreme paradigms bring a crisis. Also, many existingparadigms have never and can never be opposed, and a scientist canwork with more than one paradigm. He opposes these claims arguing,among others, that positivists view protect scientists, that ifthis is the case paradigms must restrict to those phenomena,revolution also is transformative, also paradigms form the backboneof science and need for the new meaning of existing notions, basic tothe change of new theories.
Paradigmchange leads to change in the world. This is because duringscientific revolution scientists see novel things when looking at thethings that have been in existence. This is because a paradigm can bethe lead to perception also what people see depends on the previousconceptual experience, that alternate perceptions are equally trueamong other reasons. Paradigm change tends to be invisible because itis taken as a revolution and because old paradigms are alwaysaccompanied with the new paradigms. The reliance on the textbooksleads to a reappearance of the old theory. He argues that the booksought to be rewritten after every scientific revolution. They showscience as cumulative, and also give misleading ideas that, scienceinvolves a series of discoveries by individuals.
Ifind him say that paradigm change involves the paradigm testing. Thetheories used are the theory-testing through probabilisticverification and theory-testing through falsification. Verificationdoes lead to establishing the agreement of fact with theory since,for instance, it is right to compare which of the antagonistic theoryfits the facts better. Progress takes place in science because it wasmeant to, just like its definition suggests. However, the progress isonly assured in normal science. In normal circumstance, a scientificcommunity is extremely important in solving problems.
Conclusively,from the contemplation of Kuhn’s structure of scientificrevolution, I agree that science is reconstructive, not cumulative.It involves changes to the rules to have a different view of thethings that already exist. This leads to new science. However, theexisting paradigms can never be assumed as they give a lead.
Naughton, J. (2012, August 19). Thomas Kuhn: The Man who Changed the way the World Looked at Science. History of Science.
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