Does Science Consist in the Progressive Development of Objective Truth? Contrast the Views of Kuhn with One Other Writer on This Topic.

Topics: Scientific method, Philosophy of science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Pages: 4 (1441 words) Published: May 21, 2005
Does science consist in the progressive development of objective truth? Contrast the views of Kuhn with one other writer on this topic.

The philosopher and historian of science Thomas Kuhn introduced the term paradigm as a key part of what he called "normal science": In normal (that is non revolutionary) periods in a science, there is a consensus across the relevant scientific community about the theoretical and methodological rules to be followed. (Marshall 1998). Paradigms tend to shift over time as new scientific discoveries are made, and anomalies or observations that conflict with the current paradigm begin to accumulate. Eventually this leads to a scientific revolution. There is a shift from one paradigm to another and a new period of normal science begins. So, what seems to be scientifically relevant at one time may not be so in years to come. An example of a paradigm shift would be when it was discovered that Earth was not the centre of the universe and that the sun did not revolve around the earth. This was a widely held belief up until, and even after there was proof to show that these beliefs were held falsely. Kuhn argued that the way scientists choose what conceptual and theoretical framework (what "paradigm") they should apply in framing their scientific questions and in seeking to resolve scientific puzzles is necessarily heavily influenced by subjective factors, including prevailing social norms and conventions. This implies that scientific theories are subjective and therefore so is the "truth" they aim to show.

Kuhn argued that an old scientific paradigm is occasionally displaced by a new one and that in some senses the scientist finds himself working in a "different world". For Kuhn, what counts as true in one paradigm is different from what counts as true in a different paradigm. Another way of putting this is that truth does not survive a scientific revolution. This means that Kuhn can be seen as a relativist as his argument...
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