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 ScientificRevolutions 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 ScientificRevolutions can be understood only with reference to the historiographic foundation of Kuhn's philosophy. Discussing the concepts of paradigms, paradigm shifts, normal science, and scientificrevolutions, 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 ScientificRevolutions both enriches our understanding of Kuhn and provides powerful interpretive tools for bridging Continental and Anglo-American philosophical traditions. (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)
Scientific realism, the position that successful theories are likely to be approximately true, is threatened by the pessimistic induction according to which the history of science is full of suc- cessful, but false theories. I aim to defend scientific realism against the pessimistic induction. My main thesis is that our current best theories each enjoy a very high degree of predictive success, far higher than was enjoyed by any of the refuted theories. I support this thesis by showing (...) that both the amount, and quality, of scientific evidence has increased enormously in the recent past, resulting in a big boost of success for the best theories. (shrink)
In his late years, Thomas Kuhn became interested in the process of scientific specialization, which does not seem to possess the destructive element that is characteristic of scientificrevolutions. It therefore makes sense to investigate whether and how Kuhn’s insights about specialization are consistent with, and actually fit, his model of scientific progress through revolutions. In this paper, I argue that the transition toward a new specialty corresponds to a revolutionary change for the group of (...) scientists involved in such a transition. I will clarify the role of the scientific community in revolutionary changes and characterize the incommensurability across specialties as possessing both semantic and methodological aspects. The discussion of the discovery of the structure of DNA will serve both as an illustration of my main argument and as reply to one criticism raised against Kuhn—namely, that his model cannot capture cases of revolutionary yet non-disruptive episodes of scientific progress. Revisiting Kuhn’s ideas on specialization will shed new light on some often overlooked features of scientific change. (shrink)
Thomas Kuhn's Structure of ScientificRevolutions 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 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, this volume, first published in 2006, offers accounts of the nature of normal and revolutionary science, the function of anomalies, and the nature of incommensurability. (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.
The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution, published in 1980, presented a view of the Scientific Revolution that challenged the hegemony of mechanistic science as a marker of progress. It argued that seventeenth‐century science could be implicated in the ecological crisis, the domination of nature, and the devaluation of women in the production of scientific knowledge. This essay offers a twenty‐five‐year retrospective of the book’s contributions to ecofeminism, environmental history, and reassessments of the (...) class='Hi'>Scientific Revolution. It also responds to challenges to the argument that Francis Bacon’s rhetoric legitimated the control of nature. Although Bacon did not use terms such as “the torture of nature,” his followers, with some justification, interpreted his rhetoric in that light. (shrink)
In the Kuhnian and Post-Kuhnian Philosophy of Science, it is widely accepted that scientificrevolutions always involve the replacement of an old paradigm by a new paradigm. This article attempts to refute this assumption by showing that there are paradigm-constellations that conform to the relation of a scientific revolution in a Kuhnian sense without a paradigm-replacement occurring. The paradigms investigated here are the linguistic paradigms of Generative Grammar and Construction Grammar that, contrary to Kuhn’s conception of a (...) sequence of paradigm-replacements, are reconstructed as coexisting competing paradigms. By choosing linguistic paradigms, Kuhn’s assumption that paradigm-led research takes place only in the natural sciences is implicitly challenged, and an insight into linguistic theory-construction largely underrepresented in the philosophy of science is given. (shrink)
This chapter poses questions about the existence and character of the Scientific Revolution by deriving its initial categories of analysis and its initial understanding of the intellectual scene from the writings of the seventeenth century, and by following the evolution of these initial categories in succeeding centuries. This project fits the theme of cross cultural transmission and appropriation -- a theme of the present volume -- if one takes the notion of a culture broadly, so that, say, seventeenth and (...) eighteenth or nineteenth century European intellectual cultures are deemed sufficiently distinct that one can speak of the "transmission" of texts and ideas from the one to the other as cross cultural. I maintain that a process of transforming and assimilating seventeenth century achievements manifests itself in two distinct cultures of interpretation, one developed by historians of philosophy, the other by scientists and historians of science. The first, following actor's categories, interprets the revolution in the seventeenth century as a philosophical displacement, partly fomented by a radical change in astronomical theory; the second, retrospectively applying the post nineteenth century sense of the term "science" to seventeenth century events, finds a "scientific" revolution, or the birth of modern science. The chapter proposes interpreting the Scientific Revolution as a revolution in natural philosophy and metaphysics. (shrink)
A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. _The Structure of ScientificRevolutions _is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of (...) science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With _The Structure of ScientificRevolutions, _Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientificrevolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age. This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science. (shrink)
List of contributors; Acknowledgments; Introduction Robert S. Westman and David C. Lindberg; 1. Conceptions of the scientific revolution from Bacon to Butterfield: a preliminary sketch David C. Lindberg; 2. Conceptions of science in the scientific revolution Ernan McMullin; 3. Metaphysics and the new science Gary Hatfield; 4. Proof, portics, and patronage: Copernicus’s preface to De revolutionibus Robert S. Westman; 5. A reappraisal of the role of the universities in the scientific revolution John Gascoigne; 6. Natural magic, hermetism, (...) and occultism in early modern science Brian P. Copenhaver; 7. Natural history and the emblematic world view William B. Ashworth, Jr.; 8. From the secrets of nature to public knowledge William Eamon; 9. Chemistry in the scientific revolution: problems of language and communication Jan V. Golinski; 10. The new philosophy and medicine in seventeenth-century England Harold J. Cook; 11. Science and heterodoxy: an early modern problem reconsidered Michael Hunter; 12. Infinitesimals and transcendent relations: the mathematics of motion in the late seventeenth century Michael S. Mahoney; 13. The case of mechanics: one revolution or many? Alan Gabbey; Index. (shrink)
Kuhn’s Structure of ScientificRevolutions 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)
Thomas Kuhn's shadow hangs over almost every field of intellectual inquiry. His book The Structure of ScientificRevolutions has become a modern classic. His influence on philosophy, social science, historiography, feminism, theology, and (of course) the natural sciences themselves is unparalleled. His epoch-making concepts of 'new paradigm' and 'scientific revolution' make him probably the most influential scholar of the twentieth century. Sharrock and Read take the reader through Kuhn's work in a careful and accessible way, emphasizing Kuhn's (...) detailed studies of the history of science, which often assist the understanding of his more abstract philosophical work. These historical studies provide vital insight into what Kuhn was actually trying to achieve in his The Structure of ScientificRevolutions: an endeavour far less extreme than either his 'foes' or his 'fans' claim. In the book's second half, Sharrock and Read provide excellent explications, defences and, where appropriate, criticisms of Kuhn's central concept of 'incommensurability', and tackle head on the crucial issue of whether Kuhn's insights concerning the natural sciences can be extrapolated to other disciplines, such as the social sciences. This is the first comprehensive introduction to the work of Kuhn and it will be of particular interest to students and scholars in philosophy, theory of science, management science and anthropology. (shrink)
Kuhn’s Structure of ScientificRevolutions 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 pub- lished 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. After contrasting these, I argue that the conceptual strand fails to be a complete account of scientificrevolutions. We need a broad approach that draws on a variety of resources in psychology and cognitive science. (shrink)
The novel understanding of the physical world that characterized the Scientific Revolution depended on a fundamental shift in the way its protagonists understood and described space. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, spatial phenomena were described in relation to a presupposed central point; by its end, space had become a centerless void in which phenomena could only be described by reference to arbitrary orientations. David Marshall Miller examines both the historical and philosophical aspects of this far-reaching development, including (...) the rejection of the idea of heavenly spheres, the advent of rectilinear inertia, and the theoretical contributions of Copernicus, Gilbert, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. His rich study shows clearly how the centered Aristotelian cosmos became the oriented Newtonian universe, and will be of great interest to students and scholars of the history and philosophy of science. (shrink)
The question whether Kuhn's theory of scientificrevolutions 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 scientificrevolutions. 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 scientificrevolutions to the views of Kuhn, Lakatos, Crowe, and Dauben. (shrink)
An examination of the Scientific Revolution that shows how the mechanistic world view of modern science has sanctioned the exploitation of nature, unrestrained commercial expansion, and a new socioeconomic order that subordinates women.
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 scientificrevolutions: 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 scientificrevolutions, (...) 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 scientificrevolutions. 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)
Do We Need a Scientific Revolution? (Published in the Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, vol. 8, no. 3, September 2008) Nicholas Maxwell (Emeritus Reader in Philosophy of Science at University College London) www.nick-maxwell.demon.co.uk Abstract Many see modern science as having serious defects, intellectual, social, moral. Few see this as having anything to do with the philosophy of science. I argue that many diverse ills of modern science are a consequence of the fact that the scientific community has (...) long accepted, and sought to implement, a bad philosophy of science, which I call standard empiricism. This holds that the basic intellectual aim is truth, the basic method being impartial assessment of claims to knowledge with respect to evidence. Standard empiricism is, however, untenable. Furthermore, the attempt to put it into scientific practice has many damaging consequences for science. The scientific community urgently needs to bring about a revolution in both the conception of science, and science itself. It needs to be acknowledged that the actual aims of science make metaphysical, value and political assumptions and are, as a result, deeply problematic. Science needs to try to improve its aims and methods as it proceeds. Standard empiricism needs to be rejected, and the more rigorous philosophy of science of aim-oriented empiricism needs to be adopted and explicitly implemented in scientific practice instead. The outcome would be the emergence of a new kind of science, of greater value in both intellectual and humanitarian terms. (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)
In 1962, the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s Structure ‘revolutionized’ the way one conducts philosophical and historical studies of science. Through the introduction of both memorable and controversial notions, such as paradigms, scientificrevolutions, and incommensurability, Kuhn argued against the traditionally accepted notion of scientific change as a progression towards the truth about nature, and instead substituted the idea that science is a puzzle solving activity, operating under paradigms, which become discarded after it fails to respond accordingly to (...) anomalous challenges and a rival paradigm. Kuhn’s Structure has sold over 1.4 million copies and the Times Literary Supplement named it one of the “Hundred Most Influential Books since the Second World War.” Now, fifty years after this groundbreaking work was published, this volume offers a timely reappraisal of the legacy of Kuhn’s book and an investigation into what Structure offers philosophical, historical, and sociological studies of science in the future. (shrink)
This collection of six essays centers on Professor Koyre;'s great theme: the relative importance of metaphysics and observation, with controlled experiment a kind of marriage between the two. Professor Koyre;'s thesis might be summed up as a claim that when one is seeking to explain the scientific revolution, attention must be concentrated on the philosophical outlook of the scientist and away from speculative theories. At the time of his death, Alexandre Koyre; was a professor at the Ecole Pratique des (...) Hautes Études (Sorbonne) and a memeber of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. (shrink)
Just before the Scientific Revolution, there was a "Mathematical Revolution", heavily based on geometrical and machine diagrams. The "faculty of imagination" (now called scientific visualization) was developed to allow 3D understanding of planetary motion, human anatomy and the workings of machines. 1543 saw the publication of the heavily geometrical work of Copernicus and Vesalius, as well as the first Italian translation of Euclid.
This article criticizes the attempts by Bas van Fraassen and Michael Friedman to address the challenge to rationality posed by the Kuhnian analysis of scientificrevolutions. 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)
Both in the bibliography and in the citation in the text, Michelle Gibbons’ article below has been mistakenly attributed to “Gibson.” The proper reference to the article should be: Gibbons, M.. Reassessing discovery: Rosalind Franklin, scientific visualization, and the structure of DNA. _Philosophy of Science, 79_, 63–80.
Nowadays, computers are in common use, both in experimental and theoretical research. It is worth considering if the implementation of a new, universal research tool has significantly changed the science of the end of 20th century. The crucial question which I will try to answer is if computers have revolutionized the scientific research. In order to find the answer, I will describe modern digitally aided science, taking into consideration the research conducted in the greatest elementary physics laboratory. Subsequently, I (...) will refer to the classic concept of scientific revolution proposed by Thomas S. Kuhn. Finally, I will answer the question related to digital revolution in science. (shrink)
Do the changes that have taken place in the structures and methods of the production of scientific knowledge and in our understanding of science over the past fifty years justify speaking of an epochal break in the development of science? Gregor Schiemann addresses this issues through the notion of a scientific revolution and claims that at present we are not witnessing a new scientific revolution. Instead, Schiemann argues that after the so-called Scientific Revolution in the sixteenth (...) and seventeenth centuries, a caesura occurred in the course of the nineteenth century that constituted a departure from the early modern origins of science. This change was characterized by the loss of certainty on the part of the scientists, by the steadily increasing importance of scientific communities (rather than individuals), and by the systematic intertwinement of scientific and societal development. As to present science, Schiemann admits that important changes have occurred, but he denies the conflation of nature and culture: even the OncoMouse is a natural organism, though a seriously damaged one. (shrink)