The structure of the scientific revolution

Topics: Science, Scientific method, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Pages: 5 (1488 words) Published: September 26, 2013
Elena Steffen
Mrs. McGreevy
ToK period 5

The Structure of Scientific Revolution

Define normal science:
1. Normal science describes research as an attempt to force nature into conceptual boxes & is predicated on the assumption that scientists understand the world. 2. Normal science often suppresses fundamental novelties because they are destructive to it's basic commitments.

But because of the "arbitrary element" fundamental novelties cannot be suppressed for very long.

How does normal science pave the way for "extraordinary science"? When normal science fails to avoid anomalies that refute the existing scientific research & practice, a new investigation must take place called extraordinary research. This leads the profession to a new set of commitments; a new view of the field, it's methods & goals.

What are the defining characteristics of scientific revolutions? 1. Characteristics of scientific revolution include those which have previously been labeled as "revolutions". 2. Those which make the community reject the previously honored theory in favor of the new one. 3. Those which transform the world within that specific field of science.

How is it that a new theory is seldom or never just an increment of what is already known? A new theory is seldom or never just an increment of what is already known because the new theory changes the rules of the prior practice of normal science & reflects upon the scientific research already successfully completed by scientists.

Respond; "Scientific fact & theory are not categorically separable". The regular invention of new theories evokes the same response from some of the specialists on whose area of special competence they impinge. For these men, the new theory implies a change in the rules governing the prior practice of normal sciences. Inevitably, therefore, it reflects upon much scientific work they have already successfully completed. That is why a new theory, however special its range of application, is seldom or never just an increment to what is already known.

Kuhn describes how paradigms are created & what they contribute to scientific activity.

Normal science can be defined as:
research as an attempt to force nature into conceptual boxes & is predicated on the assumption that scientists understand the world.

The "achievements" as used in the definition above must be: a. unprecedented to attract a lasting group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity. b. open-ended to leave various problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve.

These "achievements" are called paradigms.

The transition from one paradigm to another takes place via revolution.

Students largely learn & are mentioned by researchers "who learned the bases of their field from the same concrete models".

The implication is that THERE IS SELDOM DISAGREEMENT OVER FUNDAMENTALS. From a ToK perspective, why is this significant? All fundamentals are interpretable, there are different perspectives to them, so many views can be right and aren't subject to disagreement.

What is scientific research before a paradigm like?
Scientific research before a paradigm is not generally narrowed into one view. For example, with electricity there were a number of opposing views & theories for the nature of it. One group thought of light as particles emerging from material bodies, another group saw it as a modification of the medium that interfered between the body & the eye. Multiple views in scientific research will exist prior to the paradigm.

Why is a paradigm essential for scientific (disciplined) inquiry? Kuhn states that, "no natural history can be interpreted in the absence of at least some implicit body of intertwined theoretical and methodological belief that permits selection, evaluation, and criticism. If that body of belief is not already implicit in the collection of facts –in which case more than mere facts are at hand...
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