Kuhn: The structure of scientific revolutions
This excerpt from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Kuhn about paradigms supports my claim that worldviews are transcended and replaced, not included. Kuhn, by the way, got his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard before going into the philosophy of science.
“The functions of a paradigm are to supply puzzles for scientists to solve and to provide the tools for their solution. A crisis in science arises when confidence is lost in the ability of the paradigm to solve particularly worrying puzzles called ‘anomalies’. Crisis is followed by a scientific revolution if the existing paradigm is superseded by a rival. Kuhn claimed that science guided by one paradigm would be ‘incommensurable’ with science developed under a different paradigm, by which is meant that there is no common measure for assessing the different scientific theories. This thesis of incommensurability, developed at the same time by Feyerabend, rules out certain kinds of comparison of the two theories and consequently rejects some traditional views of scientific development, such as the view that later science builds on the knowledge contained within earlier theories, or the view that later theories are closer approximations to the truth than earlier theories.”
Another example from Kuhn: “An important focus of Kuhn’s interest in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was on the nature of perception and how it may be that what a scientist observes can change as a result of scientific revolution. He developed what has become known as the thesis of the theory-dependence of observation, building on the work of N. R. Hanson (1958) while also referring to psychological studies carried out by his Harvard colleagues, Leo Postman and Jerome Bruner (Bruner and Postman 1949). The standard positivist view was that observation provides the neutral arbiter between competing theories. The thesis… Read more »
More from Kuhn using cogsci: “A rather different direction in which Kuhn’s thought has been developed proposes that his ideas might be illuminated by advances in cognitive psychology. One the one hand work on conceptual structures can help understand what might be correct in the incommensurability thesis (Nersessian 1987, 2003). Several authors have sought in different ways to emphasize what they take to be the Wittgensteinian element in Kuhn’s thought (for example Kindi 1995, Sharrock and Read 2002). Andersen, Barker, and Chen (1996, 1998, 2006) draw in particular on Kuhn’s version of Wittgenstein’s notion of family resemblance. Kuhn articulates a… Read more »
We read Mark’s paper on Thomas Kuhn, as well as this thread on him. It seems his ‘revolution’ was taking into consideration what could be broadly called postmodernism. And this from a Ph.D. in physics, no postmodernist per se. What he wrote does not in any way eliminate the scientific method, just contextualizes it. This wiki on postpositivism gives a good description. An excerpt: “One of the first thinkers to criticize logical positivism was Sir Karl Popper. He advanced falsification in lieu of the logical positivist idea of verificationism. Falsificationism argues that it is impossible to verify that beliefs about… Read more »