Problem of Progress

Topics: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Paradigm shift, Scientific method Pages: 4 (1379 words) Published: April 16, 2013
The Hindrance of Relativism in Scientific Progress.

Many skeptics have accused Thomas S. Kuhn of being a relativist, by saying that the Kuhnian view provides no way for paradigms to be compared to each other. This makes it so one cannot measure progress across paradigms, but only within them. Since Kuhn determines there is not a collective foundation for which two paradigms can be measured, the idea that he disproves scientific progress is something skeptics argue for. Though Kuhn is argued to be a relativist, especially from his evidence in The Structure of Scientific Revolution, Kuhn provides information supporting the idea that he does in fact believe scientific progress is possible when paradigm shifting occurs. Scientific progress is the idea that science is increasing its problem solving capabilities through some sort of application of the scientific method. Kuhn defines a paradigm as, “an accepted model or pattern” between a community of people (23). A paradigm can be seen as being very similar to the development of complex structures of scientific theories. Normal science, he states is “research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements… that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practices” (10). He goes on to explain that normal science works under paradigms, though new paradigms stem from the achievements produced in extraordinary science. One can only speak of progress internal to a single paradigm; only here are there standards against which to measure progress. A paradigm’s particular standards are determined by the concepts a person accepts in accordance to their past paradigm. Since each person will accept different paradigms, they will find the products of their own paradigms to solve different puzzles. The inconsistency that could be observed, potentially by the scientist’s own viewpoints, could instigate an anomaly. In order to resolve an anomaly produced...
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