Top-Rated Free Essay

The structure of the scientific revolution

Good Essays
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 –it must be externally supplied, perhaps by a current metaphysics, by another science, or by personal and historical accident."

How are paradigms created and this scientific revolution takes place?
When there is no paradigm, any facts gathered about the profession, without pre established theory and little guidance, could all be equally relevant.To be completely accepted as a paradigm, the theory must be better than its competitors, although it usually won't explain all the facts concerned.

Why is the promulgation of scholarly articles intended for and "addressed only to professional colleagues whose knowledge of a shared paradigm can be assumed & who prove to be the only ones who can read the papers..." troublesome for acquiring "truth"?
The professional colleagues all share the same or similar beliefs or beliefs structures around a similar theory. Thus, any perspective or feedback they could provide would be narrowed down to those beliefs and beliefs structures and there wouldn't be any new perspectives to provide expansion of knowledge. 1. Heretofore, Kuhn has discussed why science is a "puzzle-solving" activity. In this chapter, he deals with what paradox of normal science?
The paradox he deals with is that it does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and finds none. Scientists aim for absolute and consistent answers, however new phenomena emerges, changing previous rules and progress.

2. In this chapter, Kuhn makes the case that the distinction between fact and theory are "exceedingly artificial". He uses three historical examples: the discovery of oxygen, x-rays, and the Leyden jar. In the first he notes to say "Oxygen was discovered" is misleading. (Language influences perception). How does he use the example of Priestley & Lavoiser to move a more accurate understanding of the nature of discovery?
Kuhn uses the example of Priestly & Lavoisier to help more accurately understand the nature of discovery, the phrase, "oxygen was discovered" is misleading in that it narrows discovery into a single act or event, rather then the long process it is. Oxygen existed along, scientists just built off each other's research to try to put together an acceptable way to describe its existence.

3. The discovery of oxygen "was a keystone for a chemical revolution". Not so with the discovery of the X-ray. What was the x-rays implicated "shock" value?
X-Rays shock values lies in that the discovery violated their expectations, opened a new field, and added to normal science. Thus, all previous research and conclusions became invalidated and needed modification.

4. What point does Kuhn make regarding the nature of perception using the Bruner-Postman experiment?
Kuhn point on our nature of perception regarding the Bruner-Postman experiment is that our perception is biased to how we want to see things; when we expect to see something a certain way, that is how we will most likely perceive it. Only when something unexpected occurs will we understand that we've been misleading.

How do scientists respond to anomaly?
a. They may lose faith and consider alternatives, but they never renounce a paradigm.
b. They devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict.
c. Some, unable to tolerate the crisis, leave the profession.
d. they generally do not treat anomalies as counter instances of expected outcomes.

2.Why does Kuhn argue that once a paradigm has been found there can be no such thing as research without a paradigm?
Kuhn states that there is, "no such thing as research without counter instances" & once a paradigm is found this new basis never completely resolves all the problems & so new encounter instances & paradigms emerge.

3. Kuhn disputes the notion that the truths of scientific theories are determined by measuring them against the FACTS. Quote Einstein in Zen 10 where he essentially says the same thing.
"Nobody who has really gone into the matter will deny that in the practice of the world of phenomena uniquely determines the theoretical system, in spite of the fact that there is no theoretical bridge between phenomena and their theoretical principles."

4. How do scientists know which anomalies to investigate? Respond by quoting Poincare in Zen 22.
"They must be felt rather than formulated...this selection is made by the subliminal self."

5. What are the characteristics of a crisis?
a. Crisis is followed by a scientific revolution if the existing paradigm is superseded by a rival
b. Crisis is always implicit in research because every problem that normal science sees as a puzzle can be seen, from another viewpoint, as a counterinstance and thus as a source of crisis.
c. To evoke a crisis, an anomaly must usually be more than just an anomaly. d. All crises begin with the blurring of a paradigm and the consequent loosening of the rules for normal research.

7. Why are almost all fundamental paradigm shifts accomplished by young men/new men to the field?
Young men/new men to the field are usually as committed to the rules of normal science and so are more likely to see how these rules no longer work develop them, also providing new perspectives.

8. What are the symptoms that indicate a transition from normal to extraordinary science is occurring?
Different conditions come together and make an anomaly especially pressing, when an anomaly seems like more than just a puzzle of normal science, the transition to extraordinary science has begun. This transition is referred to as scientific revolution.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    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…

    • 1257 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Losing Faith in the Objectivity of Science In his book, The Foundation of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged the prevailing belief of how science was conducted, and people in the Humanities found his book compelling, even disruptive. Why would people in the Humanities consider Kuhn’s theories on the nature of science, a different discipline, relevant to their work? Those in the Humanities believed that science was the standard for objective research and the discovery of truth. Consequently…

    • 3690 Words
    • 15 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Kuhn’s central proposition in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that science is not a body of knowledge that grows through “steady, cumulative acquisition of knowledge but a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions”. He described the period of crisis as the tradition-shattering complements to the tradition-bound activity of normal science.” The interlude of revolution replaces the one conceptual world view by another. Kuhn challenged the dominant view…

    • 901 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Thomas Kuhn. The Structure of Scientific Revolution. About Thomas Kuhn and this essay Born in 1922 in Cincinnati, Kuhn obtained a Ph.D. degree in physics from Harvard University in 1949. He will later teach a course of history of science at the University of California, Berkeley. Their, in 1962, he wrote and published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions which will be the object of this essay. This essay will be divided in 5 parts: -the paradigm, -the phases of paradigm cycles (further…

    • 1357 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    scientific Revolution

    • 616 Words
    • 3 Pages

    that swept over Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the most widely influential was an epistemological transformation that we call the "scientific revolution." In the popular mind, we associate this revolution with natural science and technological change, but the scientific revolution was, in reality, a series of changes in the structure of European thought itself: systematic doubt, empirical and sensory verification, the abstraction of human knowledge into separate sciences, and the…

    • 616 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Scientific Revolution

    • 1369 Words
    • 6 Pages

    ------------------------------------------------- The Scientific Revolution (1550-1700) ------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------- General Summary For the long centuries of the Middle Ages (500-1350 AD) the canon of scientific knowledge had experienced little change, and the Catholic Church had preserved acceptance of a system of beliefs based on the teachings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, which it had incorporated into religious…

    • 1369 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Scientific Revolution

    • 756 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Baroque Art, as a distinct style, emerged during the 17th century. It ran in parallel with the Scientific Revolution in Europe, and was a direct product of the Counter-Reformation movement of the Roman Catholic Church. The philosophy behind the style emerged in the 16th century during the Council of Trent when the Roman Catholic Church felt the need for an art form that would help reinforce its power and clarify its ideology following the Reformation. Baroque Art was created with the dual purpose…

    • 756 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Scientific Revolution

    • 505 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Before the Scientific Revolution, the Bible or Greek philosophers such as Aristotle or as-tronomers like Claudius Ptolemy, whose ideas were sanctioned by the church, answered any questions regarding the natural world. In the bible it writes, "Mankind is the most important of God's creations and occupies the centre of his universe." Astronomers there-fore stated that, "The earth is at the centre of the universe. The sun, the moon and the stars all move around the earth." During the scientific revolution…

    • 505 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Scientific revolution

    • 432 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The scientific revolution was the emergence of modern science during the early modern period, when developments in mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry transformed views of society and nature. Many people were unsure to call the scientific revolution indeed revolutionary. Edward Grant and Steven Shapin both have different views on the question and they both try to prove their point. Edward Grant argues that there indeed was a revolution in science that took place in the seventeenth…

    • 432 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Scientific Revolution

    • 1537 Words
    • 7 Pages

    The Scientific Revolution is a period of time from the mid-16th century to the late 18th century in which rationalism and scientific progress made astounding leaps forward. The way man saw the heavens, understood the world around him, and healed his own body dramatically changed. So did the way he understood God and the Church. The result was a revolution in both the sense of causing an upheaval—of ideas—and consisting of not just one, but many scientific advancements. This paper will look first…

    • 1537 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays