. 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 ...
A highly condensed account of the author's present view of some philosophical problems unresolved in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The concept of incommensurability, now considerably developed, remains at center stage, but the evolutionary metaphor, introduced in the final pages of the book, now also plays a principal role.
The author's concept of incommensurability is explicated by elaborating the claim that some terms essential to the formulation of older theories defy translation into the language of more recent ones. Defense of this claim rests on the distinction between interpreting a theory in a later language and translating the theory into it. The former is both possible and essential, the latter neither. The interpretation/translation distinction is then applied to Kitcher's critique of incommensurability and Quine's conception of a translation manual, both (...) of which take reference-preservation as the sole semantic criterion of translational adequacy. The paper concludes by enquiring about the additional criteria a successful translation must satisfy. (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)