The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

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Scientific Communities. Members practice within a set of beliefsSuch beliefs are the foundation for education (entrance into the community)Due to the nature of preparation (rigorous and rigid") for entrance, education is basically indoctrination into the belief structureThe community defends the

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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

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1. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Thomas S. Kuhn

2. Scientific Communities Members practice within a set of beliefs Such beliefs are the foundation for education (entrance into the community) Due to the nature of preparation (“rigorous and rigid”) for entrance, education is basically indoctrination into the belief structure The community defends the idea that scientists know what the world is like This defense is the basis for “Normal Science”

3. Normal Science “… is research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for it’s further practice” These achievements must be unprecedented and open ended These achievements can be called paradigms Question: Can you think of any examples of scientific paradigms?

4. Paradigms in the Community Paradigms are… Taught to students by mentors The basis for assumed fundamentals Shared among researchers Essential to scientific inquiry Used to define the avenues of research

5. Normal-Scientific Research “Normal-scientific research is directed to the articulation of those phenomena and theories that the paradigm already supplies.” Normal-Scientific Research… Is puzzle solving Is most focused where the paradigms are most strongly supported Is cumulative in nature Suppresses novel ideas that undermine the community’s foundation (paradigms) Attempts to force Nature in to conceptual boxes supplied by education Question: Why not just study facts without embracing a paradigm?

6. Scientific Revolution “[the] tradition-shattering compliment to the tradition-bound activity of normal science” Caused by an anomaly Novelty of Fact (anomalous discovery) Novelty of Theory (anomalous idea) Nature has violated the paradigm! (More accurately: Nature has violated the paradigm-induced expectation.)

7. Paradigm Shift

8. Indications of a Revolution Anomaly that is more than “just a puzzle” Anomaly causes a crisis Resolving the anomaly becomes subject matter of the discipline Scientists shift focus to the anomaly and away from the normal science of their discipline Question: What are the three possible outcomes of a crisis?

9. Revolutions as a Social Process Analogous to a Political Revolution: Discontent within the existing institution among a segment of the community Political change is the agenda Camps or Parties are formed to either defend existing leadership or institutive new leadership Polarity occurs, rising to conflict that cannot be resolved through existing politics One camp displaces the other and they exert mass persuasion on the rest of the community

10. Examples from Kuhn Discovery of Oxygen Existing Paradigm: Phlogiston Chemistry Anomaly: Gas exhibiting non-phlogiston properties New Paradigm: Lavoisier’s Oxygen theory of combustion Copernican Astronomy Existing Paradigm: Ptolemaic Astronomy Anomaly: Ptolemaic model was not quite accurate New Paradigm: de Revolutionibus. Relativity Theory Existing Paradigm: Newtonian Physics Anomaly: Inability to measure ether-drift and Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory New Paradigm: Einstein's Theory of Relativity

11. The Outcome of the Revolution During the revolution process, which of the new competing paradigms displaces the old and becomes the new foundations of the discipline? Functionalist? The outcome is inevitable Analogous to Natural Selection (the fittest paradigm survives) Socially Constructed? Decided by the community in some manner The fittest may or may not be the one selected

12. Functionalist Ultimately, the paradigm best able to describe the fundamentals of the science including new anomalies. According to Kuhn, scientific progress as evolutionary is a “nearly perfect” analogy to the evolution of organisms. Question: Are technological revolutions Functionalist or Socially Constructed? Question: Does the concept of scientific revolution followed by the inevitable dominance of a specific paradigm apply to Social Sciences?

13. Social vs. Physical Sciences Kuhn states that many of the social sciences may not have established paradigms (psychology, education, teacher education, sociology). In the absence of a paradigm there will exist preparadigmatic schools vying for preeminence. Question: Do social sciences experience scientific revolutions? Question: Do social sciences experience “scientific progress”? Question: Does Technology Management and management sciences in general have a dominant paradigm, preparadigmatic schools, or nothing of the sort?

14. Kuhn’s Conclusions Scientific progress is the further articulation of Nature Paradigms allow normal science to make progress The progression is directionless Progress through scientific revolutions is evolutionary Paradigm shifts may not get scientists closer to the “truth” Progress occurs without an ultimate goal or truth

15. Punctuated Equilibrium Periods of relative stability dominated by normal science punctuated by the occasional scientific revolution Does this graph look familiar? Do the principles stated by Kuhn apply to technological revolution also?

16. Limit of the S-Curve Is there a really a physical limit? Predicting early stage trajectories Performance is often multi-dimensional x axis: Effort vs. Time Is technical performance the correct attribute to plot on the y axis? Does it apply at the industry of firm level? “New” S-curve may never overtake old ones or may coexist

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