Abstract
Abstract The paper examines the differences between Kuhn's account, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, of the sciences as necessarily communal activities with internally set standards of procedure and achievement, and that view of the sciences which calls itself ?Scientific Realism? and regards them as striving toward, and perhaps asymptotically approaching, some external and objective reality that bestows truth or falsity on scientific theories. The main argument turns on Poincaré's demonstration that Newton's Second Law (f = ma) is not a testable, provable proposition with a truth value, but something that is simply adopted. It is adopted in the light of experience, certainly, but there is no logical necessity in the adoption. My suggestion is that it is a ?way of looking? and ?a method of analysis? and that the necessity of its adoption by any individual lies in its being a necessary condition of entry into the scientific community. That community itself adopts ways of looking or methods of analysis for their fruitfulness in dealing with old problems and defining new ones. Incoherences in the ?approach? account of scientific progress are looked at, and the individualistic assumptions that motivate it. These require the sciences to be presented as the source and basis of agreement and community amongst separated individuals. This picture and its requirement inverts reality as well as Kuhn's account, which makes community and agreement the starting point. The notion of reality as a transcendental convergence point becomes redundant. The old problem of the incommensurability of paradigms is discussed by relating them to the notions of ways of looking and methods of analysis. These may be incompatible in that one cannot look at things in two different ways at once, but at the same time they cannot be measured on any common scale
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DOI 10.1080/09672559608570827
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