Einstein, Entropy, and Anomalies

AIP Conference Proceedings 861:1147-1154 (2006)
Abstract
This paper strengthens and defends the pluralistic implications of Einstein's successful, quantitative predictions of Brownian motion for a philosophical dispute about the nature of scientific advance that began between two prominent philosophers of science in the second half of the twentieth century (Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend). Kuhn promoted a monistic phase-model of scientific advance, according to which a paradigm driven `normal science' gives rise to its own anomalies, which then lead to a crisis and eventually a scientific revolution. Feyerabend stressed the importance of pluralism for scientific progress. He rejected Kuhn's model arguing that it fails to recognize the role that alternative theories can play in identifying exactly which phenomena are anomalous in the first place. On Feyerabend's account, Einstein's predictions allow for a crucial experiment between two incommensurable theories, and are an example of an anomaly that could refute the reigning paradigm only after the development of a competitor. Using Kuhn's specification of a disciplinary matrix to illustrate the incommensurability between the two paradigms, we examine the different research strategies available in this peculiar case. On the basis of our reconstruction, we conclude by rebutting some critics of Feyerabend's argument.
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