A2 Thomas Kuhn & Scientific Paradigms


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  • Fine summary. Only paradigms (not in Kuhn's definition) are not only about science but about all of culture. Have a look at: http://paradigm-shift-21st-century.nl/kuhn-thomas-biography.html or http://paradigm-shift-21st-century.nl/paradigm-shift-definition.htm
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A2 Thomas Kuhn & Scientific Paradigms

  1. 1. Thomas Kuhn & Scientific Paradigms
  2. 2. Thomas Kuhn <ul><li>b.1922- d.1996 </li></ul><ul><li>American Physicist </li></ul><ul><li>Wrote extensively on history of science </li></ul><ul><li>Radically different view of what makes science unique. </li></ul><ul><li>Major Contribution: concept of 'Paradigm Shifts' </li></ul><ul><li>Heavily influenced Sociology </li></ul>
  3. 3. Overview of Kuhn's Major Contributions <ul><li>Science undergoes periodic &quot;paradigm shifts&quot; instead of progressing in a linear and continuous way. </li></ul><ul><li>These paradigm shifts open up new approaches to understanding that scientists would never have considered valid before. </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists can never divorce their subjective perspective from their work ; so our understanding of science can never rely on full &quot;objectivity&quot; - we must account for subjective perspectives as well . </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is a Paradigm? <ul><li>It is a basic framework of assumptions, principles, methods and techniques governing a scientific community and their science. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is a Paradigm Shift? <ul><li>Kuhn argued that science does not progress by a linear method of gathering of new knowledge, but undergoes periodic revolutions , also called paradigm shifts in which the nature of scientific inquiry within a particular field is suddenly transformed. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Kuhn's View of Paradigm Shifts & Science <ul><li>Science cannot exist without a shared paradigm and until there is a shared consensus on a single paradigm there will only ever be rival schools of thought in the sciences. </li></ul><ul><li>Having said this, most of the time the paradigm goes unchallenged and scientist do what Kuhn calls Normal Science... </li></ul>
  7. 7. Normal Science <ul><li>In Normal Science, scientists work to solve puzzles. </li></ul><ul><li>This puzzle solving is governed by the scientists paradigm which not only defines the question, but to a large extent the answer as well. </li></ul><ul><li>Scientist restrict or 'tie their own hands' through their shared norms of the paradigm leaving them to 'fill in the blanks' or work out the nearest solution. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Complex Jigsaw Puzzle <ul><li>We know from the pic on the box what the solution should b e-- our job is to figure out how the pieces fit together to get the right result. </li></ul><ul><li>As Kuhn says “Everything but the details are known in advance. The Challenge is not to uncover the unknown but to obtain the known” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Kuhn's View of Normal Science's Advantages <ul><li>Great advantage of the paradigm is that it allows scientists to agree on the basics of their subject and get on with productive 'puzzle solving' work. </li></ul><ul><li>Gives them the chance to look at their field with exacting detail, thereby enlarging their picture of the natural world. </li></ul><ul><li>This contrasts DRASTICALLY with Popper's view of science. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Popper Vs. Kuhn <ul><li>Popper sees falsification as the unique feature of science. </li></ul><ul><li>Kuhn sees puzzle solving within a paradigm as the unique feature of science. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Activity!
  12. 12. 3 Teams Investigation <ul><li>Group A: Prepare a brief presentation on Kuhn’s ' Scientific Revolution ' pg 266. </li></ul><ul><li>Group B: Prepare a brief presentation on Kuhn’s ' Implications for Society ' pg. 267 </li></ul><ul><li>Use the book as a guide, but look for information elsewhere too. </li></ul><ul><li>Brief means about 5 minutes, with everyone in the group contributing. </li></ul><ul><li>Sugar paper visual required. </li></ul><ul><li>Need Help? See me! </li></ul>
  13. 13. 3 Teams Investigation <ul><li>Group C: Prepare a brief presentation on Popper. </li></ul><ul><li>*You can break up the topics using the headings in your books. </li></ul><ul><li>*Decide in advance who will cover each sub-section. </li></ul><ul><li>Use the book as a guide, but look for information elsewhere too. </li></ul><ul><li>Brief means about 5 minutes, with everyone in the group contributing. </li></ul><ul><li>Sugar paper visual required. </li></ul><ul><li>Need Help? See me! </li></ul>