Problem-Solving, Research Traditions, and the Development of Scientific Fields

The general thesis that science is essentially a problem-solving activity is extended to the development of new fields. Their development represents a research strategy for generating and solving new unsolved problems and solving existing ones in related fields. The pattern of growth of new fields is guided by the central problems within the field and applicable problems in other fields. Proponents of existing research traditions welcome work in new fields, if they believe it will increase the problem-solving effectiveness of their tradition. Correspondingly, researchers in new fields will graft their work onto established traditions, if they believe it will augment the problem-solving effectiveness of their work. The above claims are defended through using the development of paleomagnetism as a case study.
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David Pearce (1984). Research Traditions, Incommensurability and Scientific Progress. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 15 (2):261-271.
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