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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

THE STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC


REVOLUTIONS
= THOMAS KUHN
Chapter 2: The Route to Normal
Science
What is Normal Science?
Normal science means research firmly based upon
one or more past scientific achievements,
achievements that some particular scientific community
acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its
further practice.

Today, most of these achievements are recounted
by science textbooks, elementary and advanced.
Classic Works
Before these textbooks came into view there have
been a many classics that also fulfilled a similar
function.

Author Title of Work
Aristotle Physica
Ptolemy Almagest
Newton Principia and Opticks
Franklin Electricity
Lavoisier Chemistry
Lyell Geology
These works shared two essential characteristics
1. Their achievement was sufficiently unprecedented
to attract an enduring group of adherents away
from competing modes of scientific activity
2. Sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of
problems for the redefined group of practitioners to
resolve.

Paradigms refer to the achievements that share the
two characteristics
Ex. Ptolemaic astronomy, Aristotelian dynamics, Newtonian
dynamics, corpuscular optics, wave optics, etc.

The Study of Paradigms
Prepares the student for membership in the
particular scientific community which he will later
practice. Because:
a. S/he joins men who learned the basis of their field from the
same concrete models.
b. His/her practice will relate to others research which are
based on the same rules and standards for scientific practice
c. The study of paradigms is a prerequisite for normal science
as a particular research tradition
I f t he hi st or i an t r aces t he pat h t o nor mal he
woul d go t hi s pat t er n:
A.) VARIATION OF KNOWLEDGE
B.) DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF KNOWLEDGE
C.) PRE-HISTORICAL PARADIGMS
D.) DIVISION AND RECOMBINATION
E.) TRIUMPH AND DOMINATION OF ONE
PARADIGM
The Route to Normal Science

VARIATION of Knowledge : Optics
Universally received paradigm on
Optics:
Light is photons
Timeline:
A.) Competing schools gave
different definitions for light
(17
th
century or pre-Newton)
light was particles emanating
from material bodies
-light was a interaction of the
medium that intervened the
body and the eye
-light was an interaction of the
medium with an emanation
from the eye
-other combinations and
modifications



B.) Newtons Opticks (18
th

century) light was
material corpuscles.

C.) Einstein light was a
transverse wave motion
(derived form Young and
Fresnels optical writings)

D.) Planck light is photons

B D = successive
transition from one
paradigm to another
via revolution.


Different Versions of Scientific Knowledge:
Electricity

Timeline:

A.) Attraction and frictional generation were the fundamental
electrical phenomena

B.) Attraction and repulsion were equally elementary manifestations
of electricity

C.) Electricity was a fluid that could run through conductors

D.) Franklins equal facility of electricity

All these theories are rooted on the mechanico-corpuscular
philosophy of todays science on electricity
Other Forms of Historical Devt
Prehistorical paradigms (Mathematics and
Astronomy)
First firms paradigms date back through time
Division and recombination (Biochemistry)

Therefore, history suggests that the road to a firm
research is extraordinarily arduous


How are paradigms created?
Inquiry begins with a random collection of mere
facts
Different researchers confronting the same phenomena
describe and interpret them in different ways
Preparadigmatic school (movement) appears
Each school emphasizes a special part of the collection of facts
Each school vie for preeminence
A triumphant paradigm emerges
To be accepted as a paradigm, a theory must seem better than
its competitors, but it need not, and in fact never does, explain
all the facts with which it can be confronted thus making
research possible.


Success of a Paradigm
The paradigmatic schools fade.
the older schools gradually disappear
o other scientists are converted to a new paradigm
o others are left isolated if they still believe in the previous theory
o or they move to a department of philosophy or history (sarcasm)
Members of a paradigm fight for their belief till they are
driven to extinction or unable to cope up to the challenge of
the new theory
A paradigm guides the whole groups research, and it is this
criterion that most clearly proclaims a field a science.


Summary
Paradigm is both a disciplinary matrix which
normal scientists share including
language
Agenda of problems on which to work
Methodological commitments
Substantive ontological commitments
Theory
and an exemplars , as model problem solutions to
emulate.
Paradigm define normal science by
Successful achievement
Attracting practitioners from rival schools until it has a
monopoly
Forms scientific community sharing disciplinary matrix
Embodies a world-view.


Transition from preparadigm period to mature
normal science
1. Preparadigm period characterized by
a) Number of competing schools
b) All phenomena equal as of potential interest (natural
history phase)
c) Researches publish books starting from first principles
d) Publication addressed to general literate public
e) Phenomena are described in radically different ways


Transition from preparadigm period to mature
normal science
2. First paradigm has appeared, then scientific work
is characterized by
a) Disappearance of rival schools in favor of virtual monopoly
by paradigm
b) Certain phenomena appear as especially revealing of how
nature works
c) Researchers publish articles assuming considerable prior
knowledge
d) Addresses audience of professional specialists
a) Appearance of specialist journals
b) Establishment of academic departments and institutes
c) Appearance of professional associations and conferences