Kuhn's Risk-Spreading Argument and The Organization of Scientific Communities

Episteme 1 (3):201-209 (2004)
One of Thomas Kuhn's profoundest arguments is introduced in the 1970 “Postscript” to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions . Kuhn is discussing the idea of a “disciplinary matrix” as a more adequate articulation of the “paradigm” notion he'd introduced in the first, 1962, edition of his famous work . He notes that one “element” of disciplinary matrices is likely to be common to most or even all such matrices, unlike the other elements which serve to distinguish specific disciplines and sub-disciplines from one another. This is the element which he calls “values”, which, as he notes , being common to a number of otherwise distinct disciplinary matrices, “do much to provide a sense of community to natural scientists as a whole”. On the other hand, they also do much, and crucially in Kuhn's view, to promote and sustain a healthy diversity among the practitioners who share any specific disciplinary matrix. In particular, Kuhn claims that “individual variability in the application of shared values may serve functions essential to science.”
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DOI 10.3366/epi.2004.1.3.201
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R. M. Dworkin (1988). Law's Empire. Harvard University Press.

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