The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Topics: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Scientific method, Paradigm shift Pages: 4 (1257 words) Published: May 20, 2012
Critical Analysis of Thomas Kuhn’s
“The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”

“In learning a paradigm, the scientist acquires theory, methods, and standards together, usually in an inextricable mixture. Therefore, when paradigms change, there are usually significant shifts in the criteria determining the legitimacy both of the problems and of proposed solutions.” – Thomas Kuhn. This quote is from Thomas Kuhn’s work The Structure of Scientific Revolution, in which Kuhn describes his view on science as not something that needs to rely on refutability for confirmation of a theory. Unlike Karl Popper’s philosophy of science, Kuhn concentrates on the social aspects of science and the reasons for revolutionary changes in science in which he accredits to paradigm shifts. He argues that “normal science” isn’t just about a mere collection of facts and data to prove points, but it also is a history and a tradition that creates a certain scientific community by passing on the knowledge to students. Overtime as a paradigm increases in its use, and/or collection of data, anomalies can accumulate leading people to question the current paradigm and concentrate on the anomalies; thus creating a new paradigm that stems from the current leading to scientific revolution.

Thomas Kuhn coined the term “normal science”, which he defines as “…research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice.” The achievements that Kuhn talks about can also be defined as a paradigm. Paradigms come about usually through the collection of facts based around an implicit idea and as that idea gets confirmed through the collection of data it gains popularity and is accepted and taught. It is because of this aspect that Kuhn sees science as not merely a collection of data but as a social and historical practice. By looking at the history of...
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