Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thomas Kuhn and science

"It becomes evident that one particular theory or paradigm is always taken for granted as the right way to examine the world" - Kuhn

"But paradigms radically change or 'shift' in the course of history. Cosmological paradigms have been variously Aristotelian, Prolemaic, Copernican and Newtonian, and are currently Einsteinian.  So, why do paradigms change? Because a paradigm will accumulate unsolved puzzles, not 'truths', which arise from the challenges posed by scientists themselves. The claims of Galileo or Einstein brought the dominant paradigms of their times into crisis. Scientific belief systems about heavenly spheres or light rays will then just collapse, unable to accomodate new ideas. Kuhn insists that science 'progresses' through sudden revolutionary changes, and not by some methodical evolutionary process. Scientific belief isn't that different from religious faith. New science gets accepted, not because of the persuasive force of striking new evidence, but because old scientists die off and young ones replace them." Introducing Philosophy, by Robinson and Groves.

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