Kuhn presentation


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Kuhn presentation

  1. 1. Kuhn and the structures of Scientific Revolutions
  2. 2. I can, if the worst comes to the worst, still realize that the Good Lord may have created a world in which there are no natural laws. In short, a chaos. But that there should be statistical laws with definite solutions, i.e. laws which compel the Good Lord to throw the dice in each individual case, I find highly disagreeable. Albert Einstein
  3. 3.  “Under normal conditions the research scientist is not an innovator but a solver of puzzles, and the puzzles upon which he concentrates are just those which he believes can be both stated and solved within the existing scientific tradition.”  “It is, I think, particularly in periods of acknowledged crisis that scientists have turned to philosophical analysis as a device for unlocking the riddles of their field. Scientists have not generally needed or wanted to be philosophers.”
  4. 4.  “Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.”  “What occurs during a scientific revolution is not fully reducible to a reinterpretation of individual and stable data.”  “Rather than being an interpreter, the scientist who embraces a new paradigm is like the man wearing inverting lenses.”
  5. 5.  What are some of the things that struck you about the readings this week?  What are some of the questions you have?
  6. 6.  A paradigm is a “map” that delineates the area of exploration within a field of scientific inquiry  A paradigm informs scientists about the entities that nature does and does not contain  A paradigm dictates appropriate procedures, methods and standards are used in the map-making  Paradigms serve as a context for the socialization of scientists  Paradigms provide the context for the derivation of scientific laws so that scientists do not have to revisit or justify first principles every time they undertake research (the cumulative growth of knowledge in the context of a paradigm)  Paradigm is a confirmation of the “rules of the game”
  7. 7.  The rules of the paradigm provide the foundation upon which the scientific community is built  During times of stability knowledge grows as the world becomes a little more comprehensible  When anomalies are encountered discussion and experiments become plentiful as scientists attempt to accommodate the anomalies  If the anomalies cannot be accounted through the modification of the paradigm then the paradigm begins to crumble while others start to build a new paradigm among the ruins
  8. 8.  Not all anomalies will lead to a paradigm shift  A paradigm shift or scientific revolution occurs when the existing paradigm no longer adequately functions “Like the choice between competing political institutions, that between competing paradigms prove to be a choice between incompatible modes of community life.”
  9. 9.  These incompatible modes of community life force the community of scientists to see the world in a very different way “Its as if the professional community had been suddenly transported to another planet where familiar objects are seen in a different light and are joined by unfamiliar ones.”
  10. 10.  Paradigm shifts are like political revolutions where the are many splinter groups vying for power and competing with one another  Eventually one paradigm wins out as it accounts for and anticipates phenomenon its predecessor did as well as explaining the anomalies  This is a stressful period
  11. 11.  How are the social sciences different from physical and natural sciences?  Are there paradigms in the social sciences in the way in which Kuhn describes them?  What are some of the things we can learn from Kuhn that are helpful not only in understanding how knowledge changes but the larger context in which it is embedded within?