International Encyclopedia of Unified Science. Volume 2 • Number 2. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Thomas S. Kuhn. Contents: PREFACE. Thomas S. Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions. The Social Context of Scientific Discovery. Scientific. Science . The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, p. PDF | Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions is one of the most cited books of the twentieth century. Its iconic and controversial nature has obscured its.
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kuhn structure of scientific revolutions kuhn structure of scientific pdf. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (; second edition ; third edition ; fourth. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is a book about the history of science by the philosopher Thomas S. Kuhn. Its publication was a landmark event in the history, philosophy, and sociology of scientific knowledge. Kuhn challenged the then prevailing view of progress in "normal science". The structure of scientific revolutions (PDF) (2nd, Enlarged ed.). Those conceptions were ones I had previously drawn partly from scientific training itself and partly from a long-standing avocational interest in.
In fact, the latter has ranked among the top three literatures citing Structure every biennium since Is Kuhn used among LIS authors as a bludgeon, or perhaps to consecrate the latest research fad, as Abbott claims for management? Are most citations generic, suggesting that the work has been engaged with only superficially? Are there any unique LIS concerns or applications that went unobserved by Abbott?
Of the references gathered, Notes were also taken on the definitions of the key terms, if provided, and about the context and ways in which Kuhn and Structure are deployed. Such works usually reference Kuhn or Structure only once, in passing, and the reference does not seem integral to the discussion. To take a few examples, Kuhn is cited as part of a general reference to the fact that disciplines change and that new schools of thought appear Serenko and Bontis , to the fact that Kuhn popularized the term paradigm shift Su and Lee , and to the idea that concepts are not stable over time, but change due to new observations and theories Stock The same can be found in those citations not categorized as offhand.
For instance, Kuhn is grouped with other seemingly iconoclastic philosophers of science most often Feyerabend in presenting a philosophical challenge to the cumulative picture of scientific knowledge Schummer He is also lumped together with Popper, Merton, Lakatos, and others despite fundamental tensions and incompatibilities between some of their ideas Aspray ; Heinze ; Pahre In keeping with his non-LIS legacy, Kuhn is seen as representative of a rather relativistic view, wherein truth is socially determined and not absolute Nicolaisen or equated with social constructionism in general Fister Kuhn objected to the characterization of his work as relativist—or at least to its reduction to mere relativism For the ways in which Kuhn is and is not a constructionist, see Wray Scientometrics One of the unique ways in which Kuhn is used in LIS literature—one not noted by Abbott in his review—comes from the information science side of the field, namely, scientometrics.
Kuhn is cited as an influential, intellectual forebear of the field, often alongside Derek de Solla Price Leydesdorff ; Lucio-Arias and Leydesdorff , despite some opposing ideas Fernandez-Cano, Torralbo, and Vallejo The picture of the development of science in Structure is used as a way of explaining the evolution of science and competition between different paradigms Appio, Cesaroni, and Di Minn His theory is thought to be among a range that can drive a new wave of studies in the general public understanding of science and scientometrics Chen, Cribbin, Macredie, and Morar For instance, it is not clear how Kuhn, compared to others cited, relates to the claim that the analysis of published literature can provide indicators of the trends in or relative maturity of a field Julien, Pecoskie, and Reed , or to a claim about the centrality of the intellectual structure of a field, identified by characteristics such as common subject areas, scholarly journals, and attendance at conferences Lin and Kaid Structure is taken as an example of scientometric retrieval Wissmann and thought to provide one possible model of the growth of scientific knowledge in specialties Gupta and Karisiddappa One of the problems with the use of Kuhn in this context is that his complex theory of scientific revolutions is reduced to a simple, testable model, often based on questionable readings or assumptions.
Many of these approaches and assumptions raise doubts about the ability of citation-based scientometrics to reveal the gradual accumulation of problems and anomalies that occurs during periods of normal science, when researchers retain their faith in the ability of a paradigm to resolve those anomalies, either at present or in the future.
One of the animating factors of Structure is the fact that this process often remains invisible for scientists, and had only recently been uncovered by a revolution in the historiography of science. Key Ideas After the offhand and generic references to Kuhn or Structure, the next level of engagement is found in those works that reference one or more of the key ideas in Kuhn, namely, paradigms and paradigm shifts , normal science, scientific revolutions, and incommensurability.
These ideas are cited with decreasing frequency in LIS literature. Given that Kuhn is almost always identified with the concept of paradigms, it is unsurprising that this is the idea most cited in LIS literature. It is also unsurprising that normal science is next, since Abbott identified the pages providing the definitions of paradigms and normal science to be among those most frequently cited throughout all of the literature reviewed. It is a little curious that scientific revolutions do not feature more prominently, since that is ostensibly the focus of the work being cited, but it is to be expected that incommensurability would be referenced so infrequently, not only due to the complexity of the idea, but also because the idea does not carry much currency in contemporary philosophy of science.
They even offer one of the few discussions of incommensurability. Paradigms Paradigm is the term most closely associated with Kuhn, specifically the idea of a paradigm shift. Part of the problem lay in the many ways in which Kuhn used it in his original publication—22, according to Margaret Masterman, whom Kuhn viewed as a sympathetic reader, but whose findings critics never tire of pointing out. Even before publication, his former mentor, James B. Nevertheless, he insisted that the various uses came down to stylistic, rather than substantive, inconsistencies.
Revisiting the term in his postscript, Kuhn argues that in much of the book, paradigm was used in two distinct ways that needed to be separated. Kuhn considers this use inappropriate, and suggests disciplinary matrix instead. The second, more philosophical and controversial use concerns the concrete puzzle-solutions employed as models within a field. Paradigms are thus the prerequisites for normal science.
Normal Science Paradigms are the scientific achievements that serve to define the legitimate problems and methods of a discipline, suggesting which experiments would be worth performing and which phenomena worth pursuing. However, they remain sufficiently open-ended to leave many problems to be solved. In fact, sometimes the initial success of a paradigm is largely the promise of success that it offers.
To understand normal science, it is helpful to consider what non-normal science is like. In the absence of a clear paradigm to define and direct research, all facts that might pertain to a phenomenon seem equally relevant. Although scientific research can still take place, fact- gathering is most often nearly random, limited to those accessible to casual observation or experimentation. Working in loosely defined fields, scientists disagree about the fundamentals of their field and frequently debate the problems worth pursuing, the means in which to pursue them, and even the standards by which to evaluate solutions.
This is the situation that creates competing schools, each with its own metaphysic, emphases, and cluster of phenomena under investigation. Although individual schools may progress, the results do not add up to science as we know it, and doubts about the possibility of progressing within a given paradigm candidate never disappear. Normal science is predicated on the assumption that the community knows what the world is like and can thus make great strides, developing increasingly sophisticated instruments and pursuing selected, often esoteric phenomena in greater detail.
Structure principally takes aim at the rationalist view of science Barnes , whereby science develops cumulatively as the product of individual acts of reasoning, with the results corresponding increasingly with reality.
Part of the rationalist myth that Kuhn undermines is the idea that individual scientists test ideas or theories directly against nature, using some neutral system of language or concepts. These puzzles are problems that need to be solved within a framework of rules. Kuhn suggest that the scientific community chooses puzzles that they think are solvable. Thus there are the explicit clearly articulated central problems lying within the informal framework of rules.
As a result seemingly straightforward amendments of solutions to problems do not work in the scientific community if they do not also address the surrounding framework of rules. The amendment was ignored by the research community and other findings eventually enabled the derivation to occur without this move away from the central paradigm. Kuhns ideas here form a profound basis for consideration of scientific activities. Such questions can be turned to specific branches of science.
We can begin to ask about the rules that govern research in certain areas of psychiatry for instance or reflect on the meaning of the open science movement.
We can also ask use these concepts to differentiate science from other social activities. I thought this essay was less articulate than the previous essays although he introduces some important concepts which he develops in later chapters.
Kuhn suggests that rules govern a research tradition and that there is a common understanding within the research community that forms the research paradigm. However he thinks that scientists are often unaware of the specifics of the research paradigm and instead rely on an intuitive understanding much akin to that proposed by Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein proposed that we know a game by its family of properties.
He gives the example of a chemist and a physicist being asked whether helium is a molecule and giving two entirely different answers. The explanation for this is that the scientists were using different paradigms even though both branches were derived using quantum mechanics. He suggests for instance that the scientist may undertake research quite separately from any explicit consideration of the underlying paradigm.
This thought is quite remarkable as it suggests that a scientist may dissociate a rational approach used in their experimental study from an irrational approach to the wider context of the research paradigm in which their study is operating. Kuhn would presumably have recommended a healthy scepticism towards the research paradigm although this is not explicitly mentioned within the essay.
These characteristics remain invariant regardless of whether it is science we are talking about or any group activity. The group will form an identity and this identity is developed through a shared language and culture.
The culture itself may develop from a decision to solve specific problems whereupon there is a ccncerted drive to use a systematic approach to achieve this end.
In science this results in the research paradigm. However this will also be repeated in other parts of society froming the impetus for social change across a wide variety of fields. The discovery of Oxygen is undoubtedly an important one. Kuhn playfully moves around the history of the discovery of Oxygen showing the futility of pinning it down to the discovery at a certain point in time by means of a simple act.
Instead he argues that there must be another means of conceptualising this. The identification and characterisation of Oxygen occurred not in isolation but in the context of contemporary theory. It was through the change in theory that the significance of Oxygen came to be appreciated. In effect it was a network of scientists that collectively brought about the discovery of Oxygen combining both the experimental and conceptual elements necessary for this accomplishment.
Kuhn gives other examples. Continuing with his division of science into normal science and revolutionary science, he argues that normal science restricts the focus of the scientist towards confirmation. However this very process highlights anomalies and it is these anomalies that form the basis for revolutionary science. Revolutionary and normal science can be considered to be activities at different levels of a theoretical hierarchy.
The implication is that even when activities are geared towards one level of that hierarchy they lead necessarily to changes at other layers of the hierarchy and perhaps in an unpredictable way. Kuhn gives the example of an experiment involving the presentation of playing cards to subjects. When they were challenged on this after the presentation a small minority of the subjects would become confused about what they had seen and Kuhn hints at what is to come later in the book.
By looking at the material in this way, Kuhn offers us insights into the underlying mechanisms of science as well as offering the potential to look at alternative approaches.
He identifies several historically important scientific theories and examines the circumstances surrounding their acceptance in detail. He gives the example of Newtonian mechanics and the occurrence of early advocates against an absolute model of space in favour of a relativistic model.
However what is interesting is that these criticisms were apparent only for a short while before disappearing from the scientific debate. As a result, there was no impetus to take this debate further until the late nineteenth century when this became relevant to the contemporary debate in physics.
Kuhn uses physics to generalise to science whilst making no mention in this chapter of those branches directly relevant to the neurosciences. He makes the interesting point that in criticising one theory the scientist must propose an alternative otherwise this is not the pursuit of science. Kuhn suggests that there are always discrepancies even in the most successful of paradigms. With a move towards crisis there are increasingly divergent explanations and there is a loss of identity within the field.
Indeed Kuhn maintains that all crises involve a blurring of paradigms. The crises are closed in one of three ways. In the first case, the crisis is handled. In the second scenario there is a resistance to radical approaches. In the final scenario the crisis leads to the emergence of a new candidate for paradigm.
Kuhn then goes onto discuss commentators on the field who refer to Gestalt theory in which a visual perception is dependent on the whole rather than part of an object. So if the reader looks at the cube below, the lower square face can be interpreted either as sitting at the front of the cube or the back of the cube.
In both cases the square takes on a different meaning within the whole object that is perceived. In the same manner Kuhn suggests that new paradigms lead to a different way of seeing a body of empirical facts. He is quick to point out however that this is a crude analogy and that scientists do not quickly switch back and forth between paradigms.
Nevertheless it illustrates the essence of his arguments well.
Kuhn then goes on to say that the scientist having identifed the anamoly central to a crisis will go on to explore the anomaly and to better characterise it. In crisis, speculative theories multiply and increase the chance of a successful paradigm being reached. If they do not accommodate their work to the new paradigm, they are doomed to isolation or must attach themselves to some other group" 19 , or move to a department of philosophy or history. A paradigm transforms a group into a profession or, at least, a discipline And from this follow the formation of specialized journals.
Such endeavors are left to the theorist or to writer of textbooks. A paradigm guides the whole group's research, and it is this criterion that most clearly proclaims a field a science If a paradigm consists of basic and incontrovertible assumptions about the nature of the discipline, what questions are left to ask? When they first appear, paradigms are limited in scope and in precision.
But more successful does not mean completely successful with a single problem or notably successful with any large number Initially, a paradigm offers the promise of success. Normal science consists in the actualization of that promise.
This is achieved by extending the knowledge of those facts that the paradigm displays as particularly revealing, increasing the extent of the match between those facts and the paradigm's predictions, and further articulation of the paradigm itself. In other words, there is a good deal of mopping-up to be done. Mop-up operations are what engage most scientists throughout their careers.
Mopping-up is what normal science is all about! This paradigm-based research 25 is "an attempt to force nature into the preformed and relatively inflexible box that the paradigm supplies" By focusing attention on a small range of relatively esoteric problems, the paradigm forces scientists to investigate some part of nature in a detail and depth that would otherwise be unimaginable" Mopping-up can prove fascinating work We all do it.
And we love to do it. In fact, we'd do it for free. Determination of significant fact.
A paradigm guides and informs the fact-gathering experiments and observations described in journals decisions of researchers? Matching of facts with theory. Researchers focus on facts that can be compared directly with predictions from the paradigmatic theory 26 Great effort and ingenuity are required to bring theory and nature into closer and closer agreement. A paradigm sets the problems to be solved Articulation of theory.
This articulation includes determination of universal constants. This is, in part, a problem of application but only in part. Paradigms must undergo reformulation so that their tenets closely correspond to the natural object of their inquiry clarification by reformulation. Such work should produce new information and a more precise paradigm. This is the primary work of many sciences.
To desert the paradigm is to cease practicing the science it defines Doing research is essentially like solving a puzzle. Puzzles have rules. Puzzles generally have predetermined solutions. A striking feature of doing research is that the aim is to discover what is known in advance.
This in spite of the fact that the range of anticipated results is small compared to the possible results. When the outcome of a research project does not fall into this anticipated result range, it is generally considered a failure, i. Studies that fail to find the expected are usually not published. Even a project that aims at paradigm articulation does not aim at unexpected novelty. The intrinsic value of a research question is not a criterion for selecting it.
The assurance that the question has an answer is the criterion He knows what he wants to achieve, and he designs his instruments and directs his thoughts accordingly" So why do research? Solving the puzzle can be fun, and expert puzzle-solvers make a very nice living. To classify as a puzzle as a genuine research question , a problem must be characterized by more than the assured solution. Solutions should be consistent with paradigmatic assumptions.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
There are quasi-metaphysical commitments to consider. There may also be historical ties to consider. Despite the fact that novelty is not sought and that accepted belief is generally not challenged, the scientific enterprise can and does bring about such unexpected results. Chapter V - The Priority of Paradigms. How can it be that "rules derive from paradigms, but paradigms can guide research even in the absence of rules" The paradigms of a mature scientific community can be determined with relative ease The "rules" used by scientists who share a paradigm are not easily determined.
Some reasons for this are that scientists can disagree on the interpretation of a paradigm. Paradigms can determine normal science without the intervention of discoverable rules or shared assumptions In part, this is because it is very difficult to discover the rules that guide particular normal-science traditions.
They generally learn these with and through their applications. New theory is taught in tandem with its application to a concrete range of phenomena.
The problems that students encounter from freshman year through doctoral program, as well as those they will tackle during their careers, are always closely modeled on previous achievements. Scientists who share a paradigm generally accept without question the particular problem-solutions already achieved Although a single paradigm may serve many scientific groups, it is not the same paradigm for them all.
Subspecialties are differently educated and focus on different applications for their research findings. A paradigm can determine several traditions of normal science that overlap without being coextensive. When scientists disagree about whether the fundamental problems of their field have been solved, the search for rules gains a function that it does not ordinarily possess If normal science is so rigid and if scientific communities are so close-knit, how can a paradigm change take place?
This chapter traces paradigm changes that result from discovery brought about by encounters with anomaly.
Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none. Nonetheless, new and unsuspected phenomena are repeatedly uncovered by scientific research, and radical new theories have again and again been invented by scientists Fundamental novelties of fact and theory bring about paradigm change.
So how does paradigm change come about? Discovery begins with the awareness of anomaly.
The recognition that nature has violated the paradigm-induced expectations that govern normal science. A phenomenon for which a paradigm has not readied the investigator. Perceiving an anomaly is essential for perceiving novelty although the first does not always lead to the second, i. The area of the anomaly is then explored. The result is that the scientist is able "to see nature in a different way" But careful: Discovery involves an extended process of conceptual assimilation, but assimilating new information does not always lead to paradigm change.
Not all theories are paradigm theories. Unanticipated outcomes derived from theoretical studies can lead to the perception of an anomaly and the awareness of novelty. How paradigms change as a result of invention is discussed in greater detail in the following chapter.
Although normal science is a pursuit not directed to novelties and tending at first to suppress them, it is nonetheless very effective in causing them to arise. An initial paradigm accounts quite successfully for most of the observations and experiments readily accessible to that science's practitioners.
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Research results in the construction of elaborate equipment, development of an esoteric and shared vocabulary, refinement of concepts that increasingly lessens their resemblance to their usual common-sense prototypes.
This professionalization leads to immense restriction of the scientist's vision, rigid science, and resistance to paradigm change. Only when researchers know with precision what to expect from an experiment can they recognize that something has gone wrong. Consequently, anomaly appears only against the background provided by the paradigm The more precise and far-reaching the paradigm, the more sensitive it is to detecting an anomaly and inducing change. By resisting change, a paradigm guarantees that anomalies that lead to paradigm change will penetrate existing knowledge to the core.
Thomas S. Kuhn The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions
This chapter traces paradigm changes that result from the invention of new theories brought about by the failure of existing theory to solve the problems defined by that theory. This failure is acknowledged as a crisis by the scientific community. As is the case with discovery, a change in an existing theory that results in the invention of a new theory is also brought about by the awareness of anomaly.
The emergence of a new theory is generated by the persistent failure of the puzzles of normal science to be solved as they should. Failure of existing rules is the prelude to a search for new ones There are strong historical precedents for this: Copernicus, Freud, behaviorism? Such failures are generally long recognized, which is why crises are seldom surprising.
Neither problems nor puzzles yield often to the first attack Recall that paradigm and theory resist change and are extremely resilient.
Philosophers of science have repeatedly demonstrated that more than one theoretical construction can always be placed upon a given collection of data In early stages of a paradigm, such theoretical alternatives are easily invented. Once a paradigm is entrenched and the tools of the paradigm prove useful to solve the problems the paradigm defines , theoretical alternatives are strongly resisted.
Crises provide the opportunity to retool. The awareness and acknowledgment that a crisis exists loosens theoretical stereotypes and provides the incremental data necessary for a fundamental paradigm shift. In this critical chapter, Kuhn discusses how scientists respond to the anomaly in fit between theory and nature so that a transition to crisis and to extraordinary science begins, and he foreshadows how the process of paradigm change takes place.
Normal science does and must continually strive to bring theory and fact into closer agreement. The recognition and acknowledgment of anomalies result in crises that are a necessary precondition for the emergence of novel theories and for paradigm change. Crisis is the essential tension implicit in scientific research There is no such thing as research without counterinstances, i. These counterinstances create tension and crisis. 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 In responding to these crises, scientists generally do not renounce the paradigm that has led them into crisis.
They may lose faith and consider alternatives, but they generally do not treat anomalies as counterinstances of expected outcomes. They devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict.
Some, unable to tolerate the crisis and thus unable to live in a world out of joint , leave the profession. As a rule, persistent and recognized anomaly does not induce crisis Failure to achieve the expected solution to a puzzle discredits only the scientist and not the theory "it is a poor carpenter who blames his tools".
Science is taught to ensure confirmation-theory. To evoke a crisis, an anomaly must usually be more than just an anomaly. After all, there are always anomalies counterinstances. Scientists who paused and examined every anomaly would not get much accomplished.
An anomaly can call into question fundamental generalizations of the paradigm. An anomaly without apparent fundamental import may also evoke crisis if the applications that it inhibits have a particular practical importance. An anomaly must come to be seen as more than just another puzzle of normal science.
In the face of efforts outlined in C above, the anomaly must continue to resist. All crises begin with the blurring of a paradigm and the consequent loosening of the rules for normal research.
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As this process develops, the anomaly comes to be more generally recognized as such. To this end, they first isolate the anomaly more precisely and give it structure. If successful, one theory may disclose the road to a new paradigm.Key Ideas After the offhand and generic references to Kuhn or Structure, the next level of engagement is found in those works that reference one or more of the key ideas in Kuhn, namely, paradigms and paradigm shifts , normal science, scientific revolutions, and incommensurability.
What are the functions of scientific revolutions in the development of science? If they do not accommodate their work to the new paradigm, they are doomed to isolation or must attach themselves to some other group" 19 , or move to a department of philosophy or history. A decision is based on future promise rather than on past achievement. The process of scientific revolution is in large part a democratic process.
That fundamentals should be arrived at all is testimony to 1 the skill of the practitioners in those fields where matters are complicated not only by volition but also by the complex genetic coding resulting from 3 billion years of evolution, multilayered environmental influences and the interplay between all of these not just in the individual but in group and society settings.
Because different scientists interpret their observations differently? To a very great extent, the term science is reserved for fields that do progress in obvious ways.
Others argued that the field was in the midst of normal science, and speculated that a new revolution would soon emerge.
Cover of the first edition.
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