A term with myriad associations, revolution is commonly understood in its intellectual, historical, and sociopolitical contexts. Until now, almost no attention has been paid to revolution and questions of geography. Geography and Revolution examines the ways that place and space matter in a variety of revolutionary situations. David N. Livingstone and Charles W. J. Withers assemble a set of essays that are themselves revolutionary in uncovering not only the geography of revolutions but the role of geography in revolutions. (...) Here, scientific revolutions—Copernican, Newtonian, and Darwinian—ordinarily thought of as placeless, are revealed to be rooted in specific sites and spaces. Technical revolutions—the advent of print, time-keeping, and photography—emerge as inventions that transformed the world's order without homogenizing it. Political revolutions—in France, England, Germany, and the United States—are notable for their debates on the nature of political institutions and national identity. Gathering insight from geographers, historians, and historians of science, Geography and Revolution is an invitation to take the where as seriously as the who and the when in examining the nature, shape, and location of revolutions. (shrink)
. Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions . . . has clearly emerged as just such a work." —Ron Johnston, Times Higher Education Supplement "Among the most influential academic books in this century." —Choice One of "The ...
Few philosophers of science have influenced as many readers as Thomas S. Kuhn. Yet no comprehensive study of his ideas has existed--until now. In this volume, Paul Hoyningen-Huene examines Kuhn's work over four decades, from the days before The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to the present, and puts Kuhn's philosophical development in a historical framework. Scholars from disciplines as diverse as political science and art history have offered widely differing interpretations of Kuhn's ideas, appropriating his notions of paradigm shifts (...) and revolutions to fit their own theories, however imperfectly. Hoyningen-Huene does not merely offer another interpretation--he brings Kuhn's work into focus with rigorous philosophical analysis. Through extended discussions with Kuhn and an encyclopedic reading of his work, Hoyningen-Huene looks at the problems and justifications of his claims and determines how his theories might be expanded. Most significantly, he discovers that The Structure of Scientific Revolutions can be understood only with reference to the historiographic foundation of Kuhn's philosophy. Discussing the concepts of paradigms, paradigm shifts, normal science, and scientific revolutions, Hoyningen-Huene traces their evolution to Kuhn's experience as a historian of contemporary science. From here, Hoyningen-Huene examines Kuhn's well-known thesis that scientists on opposite sides of a revolutionary divide "work in different worlds," explaining Kuhn's notion of a world-change during a scientific revolution. He even considers Kuhn's most controversial claims--his attack on the distinction between the contexts of discovery and justification and his notion of incommensurability--addressing both criticisms and defenses of these ideas. Destined to become the authoritative philosophical study of Kuhn's work, Reconstructing Scientific Revolutions both enriches our understanding of Kuhn and provides powerful interpretive tools for bridging Continental and Anglo-American philosophical traditions. (shrink)
Kuhnʼs influential book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,1 is often viewed as a revolt against empiricist philosophy of science. However, Friedman has reminded us lately2 that the book was commissioned by logical positivists, who were delighted with the result. In fact, the book was part of the International Encyclopedia of United Science initiated by members of the Vienna Circle, whose first volumes were published in 1938.3 The project aimed at providing a systematic positivist perspective on all the sciences, from (...) logic and mathematics through linguistics and on to psychology and sociology. The publication of Structure as volume 12 of the encyclopedia was greeted enthusiastically by the editor, Carnap, as can be learned from the letters he wrote to Kuhn. There are several reasons for this reaction. First, as noted by Friedman, there is a resemblance between Kuhnʼs notion of changing paradigms and Carnapʼs philosophical ideas. Logical empiricism is “logical” because of its central tenet that scientific knowledge is the organization of facts within a conceptual structure; the existence of an appropriate conceptual structure is a precondition for the very possibility of scientific inquiry. Unlike Kant, however, the logical empiricists believed that the conceptual.. (shrink)
Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions became the most widely read book about science in the twentieth century. His terms 'paradigm' and 'scientific revolution' entered everyday speech, but they remain controversial. In the second half of the twentieth century, the new field of cognitive science combined empirical psychology, computer science, and neuroscience. In this book, the recent theories of concepts developed by cognitive scientists are used to evaluate and extend Kuhn's most influential ideas. Based on case studies of the (...) Copernican revolution, the discovery of nuclear fission, and an elaboration of Kuhn's famous 'ducks and geese' example of concept learning, the volume offers new accounts of the nature of normal and revolutionary science, the function of anomalies, and the nature of incommensurability. (shrink)
In a previous article we have shown that Kuhn's theory of concepts is independently supported by recent research in cognitive psychology. In this paper we propose a cognitive re-reading of Kuhn's cyclical model of scientific revolutions: all of the important features of the model may now be seen as consequences of a more fundamental account of the nature of concepts and their dynamics. We begin by examining incommensurability, the central theme of Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions, according to (...) two different cognitive models of concept representation. We provide new support for Kuhn 's mature views that incommensurability can be caused by changes in only a few concepts, that even incommensurable conceptual systems can be rationally compared, and that scientific change of the most radical sort—the type labeled revolutionary in earlier studies—does not have to occur holistically and abruptly, but can be achieved by a historically more plausible accumulation of smaller changes. We go on to suggest that the parallel accounts of concepts found in Kuhn and in cognitive science lead to a new understanding of the nature of normal science, of the transition from normal science to crisis, and of scientific revolutions. The same account enables us to understand how scientific communities split to create groups supporting new paradigms, and to resolve various outstanding problems. In particular, we can identify the kind of change needed to create a revolution rather precisely. This new analysis also suggests reasons for the unidirectionality of scientific change. (shrink)
I re-examine Kuhn’s account of scientific revolutions. I argue that the sorts of events Kuhn regards as scientific revolutions are a diverse lot, differing in significant ways. But, I also argue that Kuhn does provide us with a principled way to distinguish revolutionary changes from non-revolutionary changes in science. Scientific revolutions are those changes in science that (1) involve taxonomic changes, (2) are precipitated by disappointment with existing practices, and (3) cannot be resolved by appealing to shared (...) standards. I argue that an important and often overlooked dimension of the Kuhnian account of scientific change is the shift in focus from theories to research communities. Failing to make this shift in perspective might lead one to think that when individual scientists change theories a scientific revolution has occurred. But, according to Kuhn, it is research communities that undergo revolutionary changes, not individual scientists. I show that the change in early modern astronomy is aptly characterized as a Kuhnian revolution. (shrink)
The question whether Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions could be applied to mathematics caused many interesting problems to arise. The aim of this paper is to discuss whether there are different kinds of scientific revolution, and if so, how many. The basic idea of the paper is to discriminate between the formal and the social aspects of the development of science and to compare them. The paper has four parts. In the first introductory part we discuss some of the (...) questions which arose during the debate of the historians of mathematics. In the second part, we introduce the concept of the epistemic framework of a theory. We propose to discriminate three parts of this framework, from which the one called formal frame will be of considerable importance for our approach, as its development is conservative and gradual. In the third part of the paper we define the concept of epistemic rupture as a discontinuity in the formal frame. The conservative and gradual nature of the changes of the formal frame open the possibility to compare different epistemic ruptures. We try to show that there are four different kinds of epistemic rupture, which we call idealisation, re-presentation, objectivisation and re-formulation. In the last part of the paper we derive from the classification of the epistemic ruptures a classification of scientific revolutions. As only the first three kinds of rupture are revolutionary (the re-formulations are rather cumulative), we obtain three kinds of scientific revolution: idealisation, re-presentation, and objectivisation. We discuss the relation of our classification of scientific revolutions to the views of Kuhn, Lakatos, Crowe, and Dauben. (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)
After the publication of The structure of scientific revolutions, Kuhn attempted to fend off accusations of extremism by explaining that his allegedly ''relativist'' theory is little more than the mundane analytical apparatus common to most historians. The appearance of radicalism is due to the novelty of applying this machinery to the history of science. This defence fails, but it provides an important clue. The claim of this paper is that Kuhn inadvertently allowed features of his procedure and experience as (...) an historian to pass over into his general account of science. Kuhn's familiar claims, that science is directed in part by extra-scientific influences; that the history of science is divided by revolutionary breaks into periods that cannot be easily compared; that there is no ahistorical standard of rationality by which past episodes may be judged; and that science cannot be shown to be heading towards the Truth-these now appear as methodological commitments rather than historico-philosophical theses. (shrink)
In this paper we examine the pattern of conceptual change during scientific revolutions by using methods from cognitive psychology. We show that the changes characteristic of scientific revolutions, especially taxonomic changes, can occur in a continuous manner. Using the frame model of concept representation to capture structural relations within concepts and the direct links between concept and taxonomy, we develop an account of conceptual change in science that more adequately reflects the current understanding that episodes like the Copernican (...) revolution are not always abrupt. When concepts are represented by frames, the transformation from one taxonomy to another can be achieved in a piecemeal fashion not preconditioned by a crisis stage, and a new taxonomy can arise naturally out of the old frame instead of emerging separately from the existing conceptual system. This cognitive mechanism of continuous change demonstrates the constructive roles of anomaly and incommensurability in promoting the progress of science. (shrink)
Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions is one of the most cited books of the twentieth century. Its iconic and controversial nature has obscured its message. What did Kuhn really intend with Structure and what is its real significance? -/- 1 Introduction -/- 2 The Central Ideas of Structure -/- 3 The Philosophical Targets of Structure -/- 4 Interpreting and Misinterpreting Structure -/- 4.1 Naturalism -/- 4.2 World-change -/- 4.3 Incommensurability -/- 4.4 Progress and the nature of revolutionary change -/- (...) 4.5 Relativism, rationality, and realism -/- 4.6 History and sociology of science -/- 4.7 Wittgenstein -/- 5 After Structure. (shrink)
This article criticizes the attempts by Bas van Fraassen and Michael Friedman to address the challenge to rationality posed by the Kuhnian analysis of scientific revolutions. In the paper, I argue that van Fraassen's solution, which invokes a Sartrean theory of emotions to account for radical change, does not amount to justifying rationally the advancement of science but, rather, despite his protestations to the contrary, is an explanation of how change is effected. Friedman's approach, which appeals to philosophical developments (...) at a meta-theoretical level, does not really address the problem of rationality as posed by Kuhn's work. Instead of showing how, despite revolutions, scientific development is, indeed, rational, he gives a transcendental account of rational scientific progress. (shrink)
From a Kuhnian perspective, a paradigmatic revolution in management science will significantly improve our understanding of the business world and show practitioners (including managers and consultants) how to become much more effective. Without an objective measure of revolution, however, the door is open for spurious claims of revolutionary advance. Such claims cause confusion among scholars and practitioners and reduce the legitimacy of university management programs. Metatheoretical methods, based on insights from systems theory, provide new tools for analyzing the structure of (...) theory. Propositional analysis is one such method that may be applied to objectively quantify the formal robustness of management theory. In this chapter, I use propositional analysis to analyze different versions of a theory as it evolves across 1,500 years of history. This analysis shows how the increasing robustness of theory anticipates the arrival of revolution and suggests an innovative and effective way for scholars and practitioners to develop and evaluate theories of management. (shrink)
The last century saw two great revolutions in genetics the development of classic Mendelian theory and the discovery and investigation of DNA. Each fundamental scientific discovery in turn generated its own distinctive technology. These two case studies, examined in this text, enable the author to conduct a philosophical exploration of the relationship between fundamental scientific discoveries on the one hand, and the technologies that spring from them on the other. As such it is also an exercise in the philosophy (...) of technology. (shrink)
Weinert defends a distinctively anti-Kuhnian position on scientific revolutions, predicating his argument on a nuanced and clear case analysis. He also builds on his previous work on eliminative induction that he sees as the central scientific method in the rise of revolutionary theories. The treatment of social sciences as revolutionary offers the key elements of a promising ambitious project. His botched attempt to portray the Darwinian view of mind as a brand of emergentism is the only weak point if (...) this insightful book. (shrink)
Summary In a case study Kuhn's morphology of scientific revolutions is put to the test in confronting it with the contemporary developments in physics. It is shown in detail, that Kuhn's scheme is not compatible with the situation in physics today.
This article presents a theoretical outline of variables for evaluating (long-term) outcomes of revolutions. These outcomes are assessed in four sectors: politics, the economics, the social-cultural realm, and state power. Amongst the set of explanatory variables are factor endowments, the former level of economic development and previous socioeconomic structures, economic and political institutions, policy outputs and various international constraints. Empirical illustrations and some generalizations are provided by drawing on the sixteen or so revolutions that occurred after 1600. Each (...) revolution is briefly characterized both in terms of its own achievements and drawbacks and putting it in perspective vis-a-vis other revolutions. (shrink)
Social revolutions--that is critical periods of decisive, qualitative change--are a commonly acknowledged historical fact. But can the idea of revolutionary upheaval be extended to the world of ideas and theoretical debate? The publication of Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962 led to an exciting discussion of revolutions in the natural sciences. A fascinating, but little known, off-shoot of this was a debate which began in the United States in the mid-1970's as to whether the concept (...) of revolution could be applied to mathematics as well as science. Michael Grove declared that revolutions never occur in mathematics, while Joseph Dauben argued that there have been mathematical revolutions and gave some examples. This book is the first comprehensive examination of the question. It reprints the original papers of Grove, Dauben, and Mehrtens, together with additional chapters giving their current views. To this are added new contributions from nine further experts in the history of mathematics, who each discuss an important episode and consider whether it was a revolution. The whole question of mathematical revolutions is thus examined comprehensively and from a variety of perspectives. This thought-provoking volume will interest mathematicians, philosophers, and historians alike. (shrink)
The self-limiting revolutions of 1989 in Central Europe offer an alternative paradigm of revolutionary change that is reminiscent more of the American struggle for independence in 1776 than the Jacobin tendencies that grew out of the French Revolution of 1789. In order to understand the contradictory impulses of the revolutions of 1989—the desire for a radical renewal and the concern for preservation—this article takes as its point of departure the political thought of Hannah Arendt and Edmund Burke.
I propose a new perspective on the study of scientific revolutions. This is a transformation from an object-only perspective to an ontological perspective that properly treats objects and processes as distinct kinds. I begin my analysis by identifying an object bias in the study of scientific revolutions, where it takes the form of representing scientific revolutions as changes in classification of physical objects. I further explore the origins of this object bias. Findings from developmental psychology indicate that (...) children cannot distinguish processes from objects until the age of 7, but they have already developed a core system of object knowledge as early as 4 months of age. The persistence of this core system is responsible for the object bias among mature adults, i.e., the tendency to apply knowledge of physical objects to temporal processes. In light of the distinction between physical objects and temporal processes, I redraw the picture of the Copernican revolution. Rather than seeing it as a taxonomic shift from a geocentric to a heliocentric cosmology, we should understand it as a transformation from a conceptual system that was built around an object concept to one that was built around a process concept. (shrink)
I examine the value and limitations of Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In the interests of developing a social epistemology of science, I argue that we should draw on Kuhn’s later work, published in The Road since Structure. There, Kuhn draws attention to the important role that specialty formation plays in resolving crises in science, a topic he did not discuss in Structure. I argue that we need to develop a better understanding of specialty research communities. Kuhn’s later work (...) provides a research agenda for those who want to study scientific specialization. I briefly discuss some recent studies that promise to provide valuable insight into the social structure of science. (shrink)
Technological revolutions are among the most important things that happen to humanity. Ethical assessment in the incipient stages of a potential technological revolution faces several difficulties, including the unpredictability of their long‐term impacts, the problematic role of human agency in bringing them about, and the fact that technological revolutions rewrite not only the material conditions of our existence but also reshape culture and even – perhaps – human nature. This essay explores some of these difficulties and the challenges (...) they pose for a rational assessment of the ethical and policy issues associated with anticipated technological revolutions. (shrink)
Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions is notable for the readiness with which it drew on the results of cognitive psychology. These naturalistic elements were not well received and Kuhn did not subsequently develop them in his published work. Nonetheless, in a philosophical climate more receptive to naturalism, we are able to give a more positive evaluation of Kuhn’s proposals. Recently, philosophers such as Nersessian, Nickles, Andersen, Barker, and Chen have used the results of work on case-based reasoning, analogical thinking, (...) dynamic frames, and the like to illuminate and develop various aspects of Kuhn’s thought in Structure. In particular this work aims to give depth to the Kuhnian concepts of a paradigm and incommensurability. I review this work and identify two broad strands of research. One emphasizes work on concepts; the other focusses on cognitive habits. Contrasting these, I argue that the conceptual strand fails to be a complete account of scientific revolutions. We need a broad approach that draws on a variety of resources in psychology and cognitive science.La estructura de las revoluciones científicas de Kuhn es destacable por la facilidad con que aprovecha los resultados de la psicología cognitiva. Estos elementos naturalistas no tuvieron una buena acogida y Kuhn no los desarrolló posteriormente en su trabajo publicado. No obstante, desde un ambiente filosófico más receptivo hacia el naturalismo podemos ofrecer una evaluación más positiva de las propuestas de Kuhn. Recientemente, algunos filósofos como Nersessian, Nickles, Andersen, Barker y Chen han utilizado los resultados del trabajo sobre el razonamiento basado en casos, el pensamiento analógico, los marcos dinámicos, etc., para iluminar y desarrollar varios aspectos del pensamiento de Kuhn en La estructura. En particular, este trabajo intenta dar profundidad a los conceptos kuhnianos de paradigma e inconmensurabilidad. En este artículo examino dicho trabajo e identifico dos principales corrientes de investigación. Una de ellas subraya el trabajo sobre conceptos y la otra se centra en los hábitos cognitivos. Después de contrastar ambas, sostengo que la corriente conceptual no logra ser una explicación completa de las revoluciones científicas. Necesitamos una perspectiva amplia que aproveche una variedad de recursos de la psicología y la ciencia cognitiva. (shrink)
There is a popular view that the alleged meaning shifts resulting from scientific revolutions are somehow incompatible with the formulation of general norms for scientific inquiry. We construct methods that can be shown to be maximally reliable at getting to the truth when the truth changes in response to the state of the scientist or his society.
There is no doubt that periodization is a rather effective method of data ordering and analysis, but it deals with exceptionally complex types of processual and temporal phenomena and thus it simplifies historical reality. Many scholars emphasize the great importance of periodization for the study of history. In fact, any periodization suffers from one-sidedness and certain deviations from reality. However, the number and significance of such deviations can be radically diminished as the effectiveness of periodization is directly connected with its (...) author's understanding of the rules and peculiarities of this methodological procedure. In this paper we would like to suggest a model of periodization of history based on our theory of historical process. We shall also demonstrate some possibilities of mathematical modeling for the problems concerning the macroperiodization of the world historical process. This analysis identifies a number of cycles within this process and suggests its generally hyperexponential shape, which makes it possible to propose a number of forecasts concerning the forthcoming decades. (shrink)
In this paper I revisit Adam Smith’s treatment of Copernicanism and Newtonianism in his essay, “The History of Astronomy” (hereafter: “Astronomy”), in light of a surprisingly ignored context: David Hume. This remark will strike most scholars of Adam Smith as unfounded—David Hume’s philosophy is often invoked as a source of Smith’s approach in the “Astronomy” or as its target. Yet, Hume’s occasional remarks on Copernicanism nor his treatment of the history of science in the History of England (1754-62, but revised (...) throughout Hume’s life) have not been carefully analyzed in light of the “Astronomy.” In the first five sections of this paper I offer a detailed analysis of all of Hume’s remarks on the Copernican system in his oeuvre. I show that David Hume believed that Copernicus achieved a “revolution” in philosophy. Moreover, I argue that Hume increasingly treats Galileo as the hero of the Copernican revolution. In doing so, Hume appears surprisingly blind to the importance of post-Galilean natural philosophy, especially the (dynamical) arguments that Huygens and Newton provided for the rotation of the Earth. In the last section of the paper, I argue that Adam Smith does show appreciation of dynamic views. I show that Smith and the mature Hume agree on the importance of Galileo, even describing his method in strikingly similar language, but that they evaluate the evidence differently in light of two conflicting commitments: i) Hume is committed to the “true philosophy”—-a certain kind of scepticism which Smith does not share; ii) Hume never seems to have assimilated the way Newton changed the evidential standards within science. (shrink)
In the beginning was the word, or grunt, or groan, or signal of some sort. This, however, hardly qualifies as an information revolution, at least in any standard technological sense. Nature is replete with meaningful signs, and we must imagine that our early ancestors noticed natural patterns that helped to determine when to sow and when to reap, which animal tracks to follow, what to eat, and so forth. Spoken words at first must have been meaningful in some similar sense. (...) But in time the word became flesh (corpus) and dwelt among us, as "inscription" (literally, to put into writing) inaugurated the dawn of human history. This did not happen instantly. One place to enter the story is with clay tokens to represent trade transactions that in time became accounting tablets and, then, the world's first literature (Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, The Epic of Gilgamesh, etc.) and codes of law (The Codes of Ur-Nammu, Lipit-Ishtar, Hammurabi, and so forth.) This event happened around the north shore of the Persian Gulf sometime in the 4th millennium BCE and was enshrouded in mystery as the role of the scribe trained in the art of inscribing and deciphering signs belonged to the priest (Deibert 1997). With the sanction of religion, writing gave birth to "civility" (literally, life in the city) and defined the line between "history" and "pre-history," the latter being a term designating everything that happened before. There is little doubt that the invention of writing was significant and that it deserves recognition as the first revolution in the history of information. Life as we live it today would have been impossible otherwise. Innovations in writing technologies happened with significant effects, but at various points in the history of information, changes in technology were so dramatic that they reshaped the course of human history in radical ways. The revolution in printing is well-studied; the invention of the printing press and movable type (c.. (shrink)
After World War II, Japanese intellectuals believed that world history was moving inexorably toward bourgeois democracy and then socialism. But who would be the agents--the active "subjects"--of that revolution in Japan? Intensely debated at the time, this question of active subjectivity influenced popular ideas about nationalism and social change that still affect Japanese political culture today. In a major contribution to modern Japanese intellectual history, J. Victor Koschmann analyzes the debate over subjectivity. He traces the arguments of intellectuals from various (...) disciplines and political viewpoints, and finds that despite their stress on individual autonomy, they all came to define subjectivity in terms of deterministic historical structures, thus ultimately deferring the possibility of radical change in Japan. Establishing a basis for historical dialogue about democratic revolution, this book will interest anyone concerned with issues of nationalism, postcolonialism, and the formation of identities. (shrink)
Summary A sufficient condition for a revolution in physics is a change in the concept of cause. To demonstrate this, we examine three developments in physical theory. After informally characterizing a theory in terms of an heuristic and a set of equations, we show how tensions between these two dimensions lead to the development of alternative theoretical accounts. In each case the crucial move results in a refinement of our account of cause. All these refinements taken together result in the (...) emergence of a new conceptual framework in which âcausationâ is evolving in a manner unrelated to the common sense understanding of the concept. (shrink)
Only one year after the global wave of protest movements and revolts—starting with the ‘Arab Spring’, then, subsequently, the Indignados movement and Occupy- our appreciation of such movements turned sour. The aim of this contribution is to question the predominantly sceptical and defeatist discourse on these movements. One element central to many defeatist discourses on the 2011 movements, is the way in which a lack of demonstrable ‘outcomes’ or ‘successes’ is retrospectively ascribed to them. Therefore, an alternative approach should be (...) formulated, which would allow us to recognise the significant or valuable aspects of these movements and their practices, without downplaying them as ‘unsuccessful’ or ‘failures’ altogether. Pierre Rosanvallon’s concept of ‘counter-democracy’ and Hardt and Negri’s perspective of a ‘Multitude’ will be evaluated as alternative approaches to current political movements. Although they are meritorious, both perspectives do not go far enough and need further articulation. The notion of ‘prefiguration’, originally derived from contemporary anarchist discourse, could be beneficial to this endeavour. After defining and deepening this concept from an anarchist perspective, it will be applied to one particular context: the occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo, during the 2011 revolution in Egypt. As will be concluded, in its application this concept of ‘prefiguration’ could teach us more about the recent wave of protest movements in general, and could help us to formulate a different approach to such movements. (shrink)
This essay explores the familiar German ideology according to which a revolution in thought would, in varying proportions, precede, succeed, accommodate,and generally upstage a political revolution whose defining feature was increasingly thought to be its founding violence: the slide from 1789 to 1793. Germany thus sets out to quarantine the political threat of revolution while siphoning off and absorbing the revolution’s intensity and energy for thinking as such. The essay holds that this structure corresponds to the psychoanalytic logic of trauma: (...) the dissolution of the event into a missed event, and the hypertrophic investment in the trivial, the non-event, the negligible remainder. (shrink)
This essay explores the familiar German ideology according to which a revolution in thought would, in varying proportions, precede, succeed, accommodate, and generally upstage a political revolution whose defining feature was increasingly thought to be its founding violence: the slide from 1789 to 1793. Germany thus sets out to quarantine the political threat of revolution while siphoning off and absorbing the revolution’s intensity and energy for thinking as such. The essay holds that this structure corresponds to the psychoanalytic logic of (...) trauma: the dissolution of the event into a missed event, and the hypertrophic investment in the trivial, the non-event, the negligible remainder. (shrink)
Recently, Barbara Renzi argued that Kuhn's account of scientific change is undermined by mismatches in the analogy that Kuhn supposedly draws between scientific change and biological evolution. We argue that Renzi's criticism is inadequate to Kuhn's account of scientific change, as Kuhn does not draw any precise analogy between the mechanisms of scientific change and biological evolution nor aims to argue that the mechanisms of scientific change and biological evolution are similar in any important respects. Therefore, pointing to mismatches between (...) the central concepts that feature in the descriptions of the two phenomena simply misses the point of Kuhn's analogy. *Received January 2010; revised January 2010. †To contact the authors, please write to: Thomas A. C. Reydon, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Im Moore 21, D‐30167 Hannover, Germany; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org‐hannover.de. (shrink)
For historical epistemology to succeed, it must adopt a defensible set of categories to characterise scientific activity over time. In historically orientated philosophy of science during the twentieth century, the original categories of theory and observation were supplemented or replaced by categories like paradigm, research program and research tradition. Underlying all three proposals was talk about conceptual systems and conceptual structures, attributed to individual scientists or to research communities, however there has been little general agreement on the nature of these (...) structures. Recent experimental research in cognitive science has considerably refined the theory of concepts. Drawing upon the results of that research, philosophers can construct more concrete and empirically defensible representations of conceptual systems. I will suggest that this research supports a modest and useful sense of both normal and revolutionary science, not as epistemological continuities or discontinuities, but as particular patterns of conceptual change. (shrink)
A scientific community cannot practice its trade without some set of received beliefs. These beliefs form the foundation of the "educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice". The nature of the "rigorous and rigid" preparation helps ensure that the received beliefs are firmly fixed in the student's mind. Scientists take great pains to defend the assumption that scientists know what the world is like...To this end, "normal science" will often suppress novelties which undermine its foundations. Research (...) is therefore not about discovering the unknown, but rather "a strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education". (shrink)
Abstract Schlick quite clearly maintains that the shift from classical physics to the theories of relativity is not necessitated by experience, but motivated by the pragmatic payoff of simplifying space-time ontology. However, there is in his work another, heretofore unrecognized argument for the revolutionary shift from classical to relativistic physics. According to this conceptual line of argument, the principles that define simultaneity and motion in classical physics fail to establish a univocal correspondence to physical quantities, and therefore must be revised, (...) along with the notions of absolute space and time that they underpin. Though these insights appear only intermittently in Schlick’s work, I will seek to elaborate on them in an effort to clarify his views on conventions within physics and the nature of revolutionary science, and to suggest that these views are invulnerable to the criticisms of pragmatic empiricists such as Quine. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s12136-011-0131-3 Authors Steven Bland, Department of Philosophy, Huron University College, 1349 Western Rd, London, Ontario, Canada N6G 1H3 Journal Acta Analytica Online ISSN 1874-6349 Print ISSN 0353-5150. (shrink)
The logical empiricists knew that scientific theories sometimes arise out of the attempt to reconcile or unify two existing theories. They also thought that, at best, old theories would be retained as approximations to their successors. Kuhn lost both insights when he rejected the logical empiricists' formal approach in favor of an exclusively historical and psychological one. But when Putnam tried to restore such ideas he failed to provide them with the historical support they require. An account of revolutionary unifications (...) is defended as reconciling Putnam's realist ideas about methodology with Kuhn's historical approach. (shrink)
This is the first critical history of the philosophical culture of the USSR, and the first substantial treatment of a modern Soviet philosopher's work by a Western author. The book identifies a significant tradition within Soviet Marxism that has produced powerful theories exploring the origins of meaning and value, the relation of thought and language, and the nature of the self. The tradition is presented through the work of Evald Ilyenkov (1924-79), the thinker who did the most to rejuvenate Soviet (...) philosophy after its suppression under Stalin. Professor Bakhurst sets Ilyenkov's contribution against the background of the bitter debates that divided Soviet philosophers in the 1920s, the "sociohistorical psychology" of Vygotsky, the controversies over Lenin's legacy, and the philosophy of Stalinism. He traces Ilyenkov's tense relationship with the Soviet philosophical establishment and his passionate polemics with Soviet opponents. This book offers a unique insight into the world of Soviet philosophy, the place of politics within it, and its prospects in the age of glasnost and perestroika. (shrink)
It is inherent in the concept of a terrorist act that it aims at an effect very much larger than the direct physical destruction it causes. Proponents of what used to be called the 'propaganda of the deed' also believed that in the illuminating glare of terror the vulnerability of a corrupt ...
Summary The paper considers arguments for and against correction and elimination of the basic conceptual categories as well as theories of social science. It is argued that some correction of at least some basic social notions is called for. A great part of the paper consists in a conceptual investigation of such notion of correction in terms of different notions of corrective explanation.
Julia Kristeva is known as rejecting feminism, nonetheless her work is useful for feminist theory. I reconsider Kristeva's rejection of feminism and her theories of difference, identity, and maternity, elaborating on Kristeva's contributions to debates over the necessity of identity politics, indicating how Kristeva's theory suggests the cause of and possible solutions to women's oppression in Western culture, and, using Kristeva's theory, setting up a framework for a feminist rethinking of politics and ethics.
This paper argues that changes in philosophical practice will be most revolutionary not in the exercise of creativity and innovation in the content and substance of philosophical arguments - although these are not only important but also, to some extent, necessary for the survival of philosophy - but rather, in changes made: 1) to the philosophical environment and its tools; 2) to the kinds of bodies developed and expressed in those environments and in the course of using those tools; or (...) 3) to the styles, manners and mechanics of philosophical thinking. The introduction of these changes is what we should expect from the exercise of the imagination. To expect anything less would be to place in danger the ethical and political significance of thoughtfulness, not only in the context of the practice of philosophy, but also more broadly for the ethical and political health of the global community. (shrink)
Bringing together important writings not easily available elsewhere, this volume provides a convenient and stimulating overview of recent work in the philosophy of science. The contributors include Paul Feyerabend, Ian Hacking, T.S. Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, Laurens Laudan, Karl Popper, Hilary Putnam, and Dudley Shapere. In addition, Hacking provides an introductory essay and a selective bibliography.
Economic growth is terribly important. Small differences in growth rates eventually overwhelm most other considerations, so the clustering and innovation externalities that create growth differences deserve far more public attention. Unfortunately most people yawn at growth theory; they prefer stories about conflict, status, moral fiber, heroes, and epic changes.