"The main spine of this book stems from a comprehensive series of interviews with subjects recalling their experiences of 1930s cinemagoing. Your feel the breath of life in these spectators, a rarity in film studies, thanks to the painstaking work contracting the interview subjects and recording and tabulating their testimony."- JUMPCUT In the 1930s, Britain had the highest annual per capita cinema attendance in the world, far surpassing ballroom dancing as the nation's favorite pastime. It was, as historian A.J.P. Taylor (...) said, the "essential social habit of the age." And yet, although we know something about the demographics of British cinemagoers, we know almost nothing of their experience of film, how film affected them, how it fit into their daily lives, what role cinema played in the larger culture of the time, and in what ways cinemagoing shaped the generation that came of age in the 1930s. In Dreaming of Fred and Ginger , Annette Kuhn draws upon contemporary publications, extensive interviews with cinemagoers themselves, and readings of selected film, to produce a provocative and perspective-altering ethno-historical study. Taking cinemagoers' accounts of their own experiences as both "the engine and product of investigation," Kuhn enters imaginatively into the world of 1930s cinema culture and analyzes its place in popular memory. Among the topics she examines are the physical space of the cinemas; the role film played in growing up; the experience of being a member of a cinema audience; film-inspired fantasies of American life; the importance of cinema to adolescence in offering role models, ideals of romance, as well as practical opportunities for courtship; and the sheer pleasure of watching such film stars as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Nelson Eddy, Ronald Colman, and many others. Engagingly written and painstakingly researched, with contributions to film history, cultural studies, and social history, Dreaming of Fred and Ginger offers an illuminating account of a key moment in British cultural memory. (shrink)
A recent paper by Hoyningen-Huene argues that the Chemical Revolution is an excellent example of the success of Kuhn’s theory. This paper gives a succinct account of some counter-arguments and briefly refers to some further existing counter-arguments. While Kuhn’s theory does have a small number of more or less successful elements, it has been widely recognised that in general Kuhn’s theory is a “preformed and relatively inflexible framework” (1962, p. 24) which does not fit particular historical examples (...) well; this paper clarifies that those examples include the Chemical Revolution. (shrink)
Given Kuhn's remark that scientists work in different worlds before and after a scientific revolution (1996, p. 111; 2000, p. 221) it is not surprising that he is widely regarded as a social constructionist.1 Indeed, this is one issue about which Kuhn's fans and foes agree. Both the sociologists of science who were inspired by his work and many of his philosophical critics regard Kuhn's view as a form of constructionism. But, this apparent agreement may be to (...) a large extent an illusion, for as (Ian Hacking 1999) notes "constructionism" connotes different things to different people. Many sociologists and historians of science self-consciously approach their subject as constructionists (see Shapin 1996, pp. 9–10; .. (shrink)
Both Kuhn and Cavell acknowledge their indebtedness to each other in their respective books of the 60s. Cavell in (Must We Mean What We Say (1969)) and Kuhn in (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 1962). They were together at Berkeley where they had both moved in 1956 as assistant professors after their first encounter at the Society of Fellows at Harvard (Kuhn 2000d, p. 197). In Berkeley, Cavell and Kuhn discovered a mutual understanding and an intellectual (...) affinity. They had regular conversations which Cavell describes as "extremely important" (Conant 1989, p. 40; cf. Cavell 1979, p. xix). Cavell says that he felt he wanted to assure Kuhn that "philosophy did not have standing answers to the questions [Kuhn] .. (shrink)
Popper repeatedly emphasised the significance of a critical attitude, and a related critical method, for scientists. Kuhn, however, thought that unquestioning adherence to the theories of the day is proper; at least for ‘normal scientists’. In short, the former thought that dominant theories should be attacked, whereas the latter thought that they should be developed and defended (for the vast majority of the time). -/- Both seem to have missed a trick, however, due to their apparent insistence that each (...) individual scientist should fulfil similar functions (at any given point in time). The trick is to consider science at the group level; and doing so shows how puzzle solving and ‘offensive’ critical activity can simultaneously have a legitimate place in science. This analysis shifts the focus of the debate. The crucial question becomes ‘How should the balance between functions be struck?’. (shrink)
The present paper argues that there is an affinity between Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and Wittgenstein's philosophy. It is maintained, in particular, that Kuhn's notion of paradigm draws on such Wittgensteinian concepts as language games, family resemblance, rules, forms of life. It is also claimed that Kuhn's incommensurability thesis is a sequel of the theory of meaning supplied by Wittgenstein's later philosophy. As such its assessment is not fallacious, since it is not an empirical hypothesis (...) and it does not have the relativistic implications Kuhn's critics repeatedly indicated. Although concepts are indeed relative to a language game or paradigm, interparadigmatic intelligibility is preserved through the standard techniques of translation or praxis. The impossibility of radical translation which is captured by the claim of incommensurability lies with that which cannot be said but only shown. (shrink)
This paper is a supplement to, and provides a proof of principle of, Kuhn vs. Popper on Criticism and Dogmatism in Science: A Resolution at the Group Level. It illustrates how calculations may be performed in order to determine how the balance between different functions in science—such as imaginative, critical, and dogmatic—should be struck, with respect to confirmation (or corroboration) functions and rules of scientific method.
Some have claimed that people with very different beliefs literally see the world differently. Thus Thomas Kuhn: ‘what a man sees depends both upon what he looks at and also upon what his previous visual—conceptual experience has taught him to see’ (Kuhn 1970, p. ll3). This view — call it ‘Perceptual Relativism’ — entails that a scientist and a child may look at a cathode ray tube and, in a sense, the first will see it while the second (...) won’t. The claim is not, of course, that the child’s experience is ‘empty’; but that, unlike the scientist, it does not see the tube as a cathode ray tube. One way of supporting this claim is to say that one cannot see something as an F unless one has the concept F. Since the child plainly lacks the concept of a cathode ray tube, it cannot see it as a cathode ray tube. Although Perceptual Relativism is hard to believe, this supporting suggestion is not so implausible. After all, when we see (and more generally, perceive) the world, the world is presented to us in a particular way; so how can we see it as being that way unless we have some idea or conception of the way it is presented? We need not be committed to a representative theory of perception to think that perceptions in some sense represent the world. We can express this by saying that perceptions have content. Now it is a commonplace that the contents of beliefs and the other propositional attitudes involve concepts. The belief that this thing is a cathode ray tube involves, in some sense, the concept cathode ray tube. So the line of thought behind Perceptual Relativism may be expressed thus: seeing an F as an F is a state with content. (shrink)
The incommensurability thesis, as introduced by T.S. Kuhn and P.K. Feyerabend, states that incommensurable theories are conceptually incompatible theories which share a common domain of application. Such claim has often been regarded as incoherent, since it has been understood that the determination of a common domain of application at least requires a certain degree of conceptual compatibility between the theories. The purpose of this work is to contribute to the defense of the notion of local or gradual incommensurability, as (...) proposed by late Kuhn. The application of this notion would allow to render the incommensurability thesis coherent. To support this view, a typical example of incommensurability will be formally analyzed by applying the structuralist metatheory developed, among others by W. Balzer, C.U. Moulines and J.D. Sneed. The structural reconstruction of the relation between the phlogiston theory and the oxygen theory offered here will reveal that they are locally incommensurable, and will even make possible to determine the ontological reduction relation that they also exemplify. (shrink)
This book is important for philosophy of mathematics and for the study of French philosophy. French philosophers are more concerned than most Anglo-American with mathematical practice outside of foundations. This contradicts the fashionable claim that French intellectuals get science all wrong and we return below to a germane example from Sokal and Bricmont . The emphasis on practice goes back to mid-20th century French historians of science including those Kuhn cites as sources for his orientation in philosophy of science (...) [Kuhn 1996: p. viii]. And the French often look to the experience, rather than the ideology, of Bourbaki. (shrink)
The acidity function is a thermodynamic quantitative measure of acid strength for non-aqueous and concentrated aqueous Brønsted acids, with acid strength being defined as the extent to which the acid protonates a base of known basicity. The acidity function, which was developed, both theoretically and experimentally, by Louis P. Hammett of Columbia University during the 1930s, has proven useful in the area of physical organic chemistry where it has been used to correlate rates of acid-catalyzed reactions and to quantitate the (...) acidity of superacids, acids with protonating abilities greater than pure sulfuric acid. All Brønsted acids can now be compared using a common measure. Karl Popper’s seminal idea of theory falsification does not apply here because of the many successful applications of the acidity function. Likewise, Thomas Kuhn’s idea of a paradigm shift does not apply here, even though the acidity function concept was revolutionary, because the acidity function is commensurate with classical concepts of acidity. (shrink)
How can it be rational to work on a new theory that does not yet meet the standards for good or acceptable theories? If diversity of approaches is a condition for scientific progress, how can a scientific community achieve such progress when each member does what it is rational to do, namely work on the best theory? These two methodological problems, the problem of pursuit and the problem of diversity, can be solved by taking into account the cognitive risk that (...) is involved in theory choice. I compare this solution to other proposals, in particular T. S. Kuhn's and P. Kitcher's view that the two problems demonstrate the epistemic significance of the scientific community. (shrink)
Summary It is argued that the âpragmatic turn represented by Kuhn's work constitutes a modification but not a change of the paradigm of âanalytic philosophy of science. To show this, that paradigm (P) is reconstructed in terms of five programmatic schemata of knowledge production.
Die Frage nach dem Verhältnis aufeinanderfolgender Theorien rückte spätestens mit der Publikation von T. S. Kuhns einflußreicher Schrift Die Struktur wissenschaftlicher Revolutionen im Jahre 1961 in den Brennpunkt wissenschaftsphilosophischer Untersuchungen. Dabei gibt es im wesentlichen zwei große Lager. Auf der einen Seite stehen Philosophen wie P. Feyerabend und T. S. Kuhn selbst, die den Aspekt der Diskontinuität...
Analogously to Kuhn’s and Hanson’s understanding of observation as theory-impregnated, we try to test the hypothesis that observation and interpretation might also be value-impregnated. We use a written examination task for medical students who were asked to read and interpret a text where the authors provide arguments pro et contra euthanasia. Afterwards the students were asked to provide their own reflected opinion on the issue. We found that medical students who were against and indecisive provided interpretations of the text (...) which accorded with their own reflected opinions ( P = 0.02), indicating that their interpretations were influenced by their own values. When including those who were pro euthanasia, the association was no longer significant. Although the present investigation was a small pilot-study, we obtained partial support for our hypothesis and have adjusted it to read as follows: observations and interpretations might be value-impregnated for respondents who have rather strong value-based attitudes. We think the adjusted hypothesis deserves to be further examined. (shrink)
Carnap, R. Empiricism, semantics, and ontology.--Quine, W. V. Two dogmas of empiricism. Meaning and translation.--Sellars, W. Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.--Putnam, H. Brains and behaviour.--Popper, K. R. Science: conjectures and refutations.--Feyerabend, P. K. Science without experience. How to be a good empiricist--a plea for tolerance in matters epistemological.--Kuhn, T. S. Incommensurability and paradigms.--Hesse, M. Duhem, Quine and a new empiricism.--Chomsky, N. Recent contributions to the theory of innate ideas.--Putnam, H. The innateness hypothesis and explanatory models in linguistics.--Goodman, N. (...) The epistemological argument.--Quine, W. V. Linguistics and philosophy.--Edgley, R. Chomsky's theory of innate ideas.--Fodor, J. A. Methodological arguments for behaviorism.--Chomsky, N. Some empirical assumptions in modern philosophy of language.--Annotated bibliography (p. 319-326). (shrink)
When in Africa we speak and dream of and work for, a rebirth of that continent as a full participant in the affairs of the world in the next century, we are deeply conscious of how dependent that is on the mobilisation and strengthening of the continent's resources of learning. Nelson Mandela Address at Harvard University, September, 1998 quoted in East African, September 1-7, 2003 A paradigm can, for that matter, even insulate the community from those socially important problems (...) that are not reducible to the puzzle form, because they cannot be stated in terms of the conceptual and instrumental tools the paradigm supplies. Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions p. 37 Africa suffers from a pessimism of description as well as a pessimism of prescription it has suffered for over 500 years from a condescending and often violent gaze from diagnosis to destiny. The usual Eurocentric style in reflecting about Africa has always had an underlying tone of reproach and even moral condemnation. There is a need to protest and resist against this negative projection. We need to start to converse about Africa's problems and challenges with the inclusion of hope as an ontological need for change. Withoug hope, there will be no possibility to struggle on. Hope is an important variable in the way we wish to think, talk, reason, debate and mount intellectual reflection about Africa Re-thinking African development through innovation, social-invention, systems mental images and the logocentric imagination of the productive Africa-nation, and not through market exchange, Smithian or Ricardian comparative advantage can generate a hopeful departure from received approaches to theorising about Africa. The making of African productive power, building the capital of the mind, organising institutions within the progressive imagination of the Africa-nation is a critical launching pad for a new intellectual and research orientation hihgly needed when Africans want to make their history with the revival of the Pan-African ideal and the African renaissance. The article proposes that the national system of innovation provides the metaphor of hope, the heuristics of what is significant data to investigate, and the criticism of conventional and pessimistic theorising and finally the emancipatory knowledge resources for a post-pessimist turn to bring about the cognitive praxis of a post-colonial liberation of Africa as a whole. (shrink)
Causal theories of reference in the philosophy of language and philosophy of science have suggested that it could resolve lingering worries about incommensurability between theoretical claims in different paradigms, to borrow Kuhn’s terms. If we co-refer throughout different paradigms, then the problems of incommensurability are greatly diminished, according to causal theorists. I argue that assuring ourselves of that sort of constancy of reference will require comparable sorts of cross-paradigm affinities, and thus provides us with no special relief on this (...) problem. Suggestions on how to think about rigid designation across paradigms are included. (shrink)
How should educational research be contracted? And is there anything wrong with the way that public funding of educational research is currently administered? We endeavour to answer these questions by appeal to the work of two of the most prominent philosophers of science of the twentieth century, namely Popper and Kuhn. Although their normative views of science are radically different, we show that they would nonetheless agree on a number of key rules concerning the extent to which scientific practice (...) should be influenced ‘from the outside’. We then show that these rules are often broken in the way that research is publicly funded in the UK. (shrink)
Contemporary epistemology has assumed that knowledge is represented in sentences or propositions. However, a variety of extensions and alternatives to this view have been proposed in other areas of investigation. We review some of these proposals, focusing on (1) Ryle's notion of knowing how and Hanson's and Kuhn's accounts of theory-laden perception in science; (2) extensions of simple propositional representations in cognitive models and artificial intelligence; (3) the debate concerning imagistic versus propositional representations in cognitive psychology; (4) recent treatments (...) of concepts and categorization which reject the notion of necessary and sufficient conditions; and (5) parallel distributed processing (connectionist) models of cognition. This last development is especially promising in providing a flexible, powerful means of representing information nonpropositionally, and carrying out at least simple forms of inference without rules. Central to several of the proposals is the notion that much of human cognition might consist in pattern recognition rather than manipulation of rules and propositions. (shrink)
Quine has proposed an alternative criterion for identifying observation sentences which has not yet received serious evaluation. We investigate this new criterion, showing how it differs from more traditional criteria and measuring it against the major objections to traditional criteria. Our judgment is that it meets Suppe's and Achinstein's objections and one version of the theory-ladenness objection offered by Hanson, Feyerabend, and Kuhn. We suggest how it might also provide an answer to the more serious version of the theory-ladenness (...) objection. To determine whether it meets this final objection, though, requires actual analysis of scientific cases, which has not yet been performed. (shrink)