Thomas Kuhn: A Theory of How Science Progresses and What Theory Is A. The Conventional View of Science and Kuhn’s Critique B. Kuhn’s Model: From Paradigm to Scientific Revolution C. Implications for Sociology Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions first published in 1962
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Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
“Structure was the right book at the right time”
“Structure opened the door to the eruption of the sociology of knowledge into the study of…sciences about as far as it could be opened.”
Kuhn “prayed for rain and got a flood.”
A new theory generally begins as a critique of an existing one. What was the view of science that Kuhn was arguing against?
How does Kuhn dispute this “conventional” view of science?
1) Science is based above all on shared paradigms, not methods or sets of facts
2) Progress in science has been discontinuous and revolutionary, not incremental and evolutionary
Therefore science, like all other types of human activities, is a fundamentally social and community-based process
Kuhn’s Basic Model
What Are Paradigms?
Review: Normal Science
Anomalies and Extraordinary Science
Anomalies may consist of:
findings that violate the expectations of the paradigm
problems that should be possible to be solved but resist repeated efforts to solve them
Extraordinary Science: scientists begin to “think outside the box.” Several outcomes are possible.
“Kuhn will be remembered because he taught that the process of science was fundamentally human, that discoveries were the product not of some plodding, rational process but of human ingenuity intermingled with politics and personality--that science was, in the end, a social process.”
What implications does this have for sociology?
Are there potential downsides to the paradigm concept?
What has happened as it has become part of popular discourse?