Paradigm Shifts, Scientific Revolutions, and the Unit of Scientific Change: Towards a Post-Kuhnian Theory of Types of Scientific Development

One of the central problems arising from just the descriptive aspect of Kuhn's theory of scientific development by revolutions concerns the problem of generality. Is Kuhn's theory general enough to encompass the development of all the sciences, including both the natural sciences and the social sciences? The answer to this question is no. It is argued that this negative answer is due not to the nature of the sciences themselves but to the nature of Kuhn's theory and, in particular, its local and reductionistic perspective. First steps toward the construction of a more global and more pluralistic descriptive theory of scientific development are taken. The development of significant episodes in the history of sciences other than physics and chemistry are considered. The immediate goals are to correct the narrow base from which Kuhn starts, to show how some of his basic ideas might be preserved, and to indicate how a theory of types would proceed.
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