Thomas Kuhn - Scientific Revolutions

Topics: Scientific method, Science, Paradigm shift Pages: 3 (786 words) Published: September 29, 2008
To begin, these paradigms, as Kuhn describes them, are originally limited in scope and precision. It may still be unclear to the researcher(s) to what is actually being studied. Nonetheless, “the success of a paradigms… is at the start largely a promise of success discoverable in selected and still incomplete examples.” (pg 23) This however, does not mean the paradigm will be completely successful and by no means to solve all the existing problems. Yet, there is still the notion that the paradigm will be successful; this is where normal science steps in. “Normal science consists in the actualization of that promise,” (the promise of success).

Kuhn, goes on to describe normal science as mop-up operations. These so “mop-up operations are what engage most scientists throughout their careers.” Mop-up operations are not set forth to engage in new sorts of phenomena, nor do these researchers seek out new anomalies. When anomalies are discovered they’re almost always discarded and not even noticed. Instead, Kuhn describes these mop-up operations as research “directed to the articulation of those phenomena and theories that the paradigm already supplies” (24).

This research technique may seem narrow minded but in fact, according to Kuhn, is essential in the development of science. When a researcher narrows his search he is inclined to look at a certain aspect of science in great detail. This inevitably leads to either a positive or negative outcome for the researcher. When the result fails to coexist with the original theory the focus of the research begins to shift.

Let’s now shift to Kuhn’s focus on the three focus points of factual scientific investigation. First, Kuhn states that there is an “attempt to increase the accuracy and scope with which facts like these are known occupy a significant fraction of literature of experimental and observational science. For example, Newton’s law of gravity was only strengthened and made clearer with Einstein.

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