This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Thomas Kuhn's Structure Of Scientific Revolutions

2279 words - 9 pages

The aim of this essay is to provide a summary and critique of Thomas S. Kuhn’s groundbreaking thesis ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.’ This will be done by analyzing his concepts of ‘paradigm’, ‘normal science’ and ‘scientific revolutions.’ Following the overview I will present the example of ‘The Copernican Revolution’ to empirically show a paradigm shift. The rest of the essay is concerned specifically with critically examining Kuhn’s notion of a paradigm and the incommensurability between them. I will show that to define paradigm is a never ending task however this should not hinder the usefulness of the concept itself.
Before Kuhn’s book was written, the commonly held position by scientists and philosophers of science, such as Mach and Otswald , about the structure of science; was that it involved linear progression as a result of an incremental accumulation of knowledge from the activities undertaken by members of the scientific community. They thought that as generations of scientists observed more and more, their understanding of a particular scientific fact would become better refined through an ever growing stockpile of facts, theories and methods. The aim of the historian of science would be to pin point the man and the moment in time a further discovery was made; whilst also describing the obstacles that inhibited scientific progression.
Then in 1962, Kuhn’s revolutionary book challenged the prevailing model of the history of science and argued for an episodic structure in which periods of conceptual continuity in normal science are interrupted by periods of revolutionary science.
I will begin by outlining the core concepts that Kuhn presents at the beginning of his thesis. The backbone of Kuhn’s structure of science is the notion of a paradigm. In common usage a paradigm is an “accepted model or pattern.” However, for Kuhn it is more than that, it is “largely a promise of success discoverable in selected and still incomplete examples” that needs “further articulation and specification under new or more stringent conditions.” Hence from paradigms “spring particular coherent traditions of scientific research” this is what Kuhn calls ‘normal science.’
For scientists to work within a normal science tradition, a paradigm is required as a pre-requisite. Normal science mostly consists of “mopping-up operations ”. The aim of which is to actualize the promise of the paradigm by “extending the knowledge of those facts that the paradigm displays as particularly revealing, by increasing the extent of the match between those facts and the paradigm’s predictions, and by further articulation of the paradigm itself.” Normal science makes up the majority of a scientists career, in which they articulate the phenomena and theories that the paradigm already supplies. Whilst working within a normal science tradition, there can come a point at which it starts to fail. This could be due to continued failures at solving a...

Find Another Essay On Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Evaluate Kuhn’s theory of scientific development

1541 words - 7 pages Thomas Samuel Kuhn was born on July 18, 1922, in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America. He studied and worked at Harvard, Kuhn was initially a physicist but later changed courses to study the history of science. While a student at Harvard Kuhn wrote the book the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Paradigm Shift. In this book, Kuhn changed the view of scientific progress and his theory has been by far the most important and influential

The Burgess Story Essay

3377 words - 14 pages Nature of History. New York: W.W. Norton, c1989. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970. Kuhn, Thomas S. "Logic of Discovery or Psychology of Research?" Criticism and the growth of knowledge: proceedings of the International Colloquium in the Philosophy of Science, London, 1965. Vol 4. Eds. hnre Lakatos, Alan Musgrave. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970. Popper, Karl R. Conjectures and refutations: the growth of scientific knowledge. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963. Feymnan, Richard P. "Cargo Cult Science"

Conversion and Departure between Science and Social Science

1792 words - 7 pages a new scientific method that depended on skepticism and continual questioning. Popper argued that scientists had to construct experiments that falsify rather than prove their hypothesis - adopting an open, skeptical and imaginative approaches to science rather than a description of what they do. Comparing effects of certain remedies would be more successful. Science is interconnected with social change. Thomas Kahan, argues that most of


1799 words - 8 pages violent revolutions (Kuhn, 1996). By these revolutions one conceptual of the world view is replaced by another. This theory of scientific revolution culminated from several postulations which started in the 16th century with the discovery of scientific theories. With the paradigm and paradigm shift the view of the world has taken perspective in scientific theory and its discovery of truth. Bibliography Bird, A. (2012). Thomas Kuhn. The Stanford


8335 words - 33 pages ' and technological 'system'. The idea of 'technological paradigm' (see Constant 1980, Dosi 1982) is an analogical extension of Thomas Kuhn's idea of the scientific paradigm (1970). In Kuhn's work, 'paradigm' has two main meanings, which are inter- related but distinguishable. In the more basic sense, the paradigm is an exemplar, a particular scientific problem-solution that is accepted as successful and which becomes the basis for future work

Thoughts on a Possible Rational Reconstruction of the Method of

3240 words - 13 pages the structuralist conception of theories by Sneed and Stegmller (see e.g., Diederich [1981])) have dominated the scene. Particularly, the method has played an extremely important part in the discussion of Thomas S. Kuhn's history of science, actually within Imre Lakatos' alternative conception of "scientific research programmes" on the one hand, in Stegmller's structuralist reconstruction of Kuhn's theory on the other hand. (See e.g., Lakatos


1077 words - 5 pages In Thomas B. Edsall’s “The Two Revolutions,” Edsall analyzes these two major revolutions that have transpired in American history: the socio-cultural or rights movement and the technological, scientific, and economic revolution (TSE). The sociocultural revolution involved the rights concerning workingwomen, women’s work and workplace rights, demographic change, sexual freedom and abortion rights. Post-World War II, America faced a race-based

Epigenetics as a Scientific Revolution Via Analysis of Theory Literature. Example: Kuhn

5302 words - 21 pages genetics and their interactions with the environment.Works CitedRenthal et al. (2007). Histone Deacetylase 5 epigenetically controls behavioral adaptations to chronic emotional stimuli. Neuron. 56:517-529Bird, A. (2007). Perceptions of epigenetics. Nature 447(7143): 396-398.Kuhn, Thomas (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.Kosso, Peter (1992). Reading the Book if Nature: An Introduction to the Philosophy of

Karl Popper's Falsifiability

978 words - 4 pages methods are merely "tests of our conjectures" and "luck". He cites Born and Hume's ideas to form his hypothesis. The first half of Popper's lecture seems to coincide with Thomas Kuhn's historical account of science. Kuhn speaks of the old astronomical theories held and how they resemble many types of theories today. They "were believed for the same reasons: they provided plausible answers to the questions that seemed important" (Kuhn p.3). Kuhn

Does science consist in the progressive development of objective truth? Contrast the views of Kuhn with one other writer on this topic

1422 words - 6 pages York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Second edition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970. Popper, Karl R. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1959.

Successful Revolutions

633 words - 3 pages relations in which they are expressed as a result of widespread popular acceptance of a utopian alternative to the current social order.” (Paige 2003, 24) After defining ‘revolution’, we face another serious difficulty. Is it fruitful to examine such a broad category as one phenomenon? It is, after all, true that there are revolutions that differ greatly from each other when it comes to the type of the regime, structure of the society, structure of the

Similar Essays

The Nature Of Scientific Progress As Described In T.H. Kuhn's Model Of Paradigms And Revolutions, And Larry Laudan's Model Of Research Traditions

2147 words - 9 pages childlike--and yet it is the most precious thing we have." Bibliography 1. Goldstein, Martin. How We Know. 1919. New York: Plenum Press. 1980. 2. Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1970 3. Laudan, Larry. Progress and its Problems. California: University of California Press. 1977 4. Shermer, Michael. Why People Believe Weird Things. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company. 1997.

The Yellow Baboon General Characteristics Of Mammals, Structure, Scientific Classsification, Adaptions, Communication And Courtship

2125 words - 9 pages General Characteristics of Class MammaliaMammals are the most evolved and adapted of the five Chordate classes. They include around 5000 species placed in around 26 different orders. Mammals are divided into 3 different major groups according to their embryonic development. Monotremes, although there are only 3 known living species (e.g. the platypus), are ovoviparous, but still suckle their young from simple mammory glands. Marsupials, give

Teaching The Philosophy Of Science With Non Scientific Examples

3662 words - 15 pages element in his theory of scientific revolutions; and the non-scientific topic adapted to explain this theory will be the history of musical styles and the structure of musical compositions. The concept of a "paradigm" is the key component in Kuhn's philosophy of science. (1) Briefly, a paradigm is a guiding framework of theories or ideas which shapes and determines our understanding of the world. Newtonian mechanics, Darwinian evolution, Freudian

Philosophy Of Science Essay

1680 words - 7 pages what is and is not legitimately scientific: a theory should be regarded as scientific if and only if it is falsifiable. Hence Popper's ideas are frequently confused for a hard logical account of truth because of the historical co-incidence of their emerging at the same time as logical positivism, the followers of which muddled his aims for their own (4). Thomas Kuhn's influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions disputed that