Thomas Kuhn's Philosophy of Science Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

If the anomaly resists explanation within the paradigm, the paradigm is altered to include the anomaly. Therefore, to lead to a true crisis and to form the foundation of a scientific revolution, an anomaly must conflict with the basic tenets of the paradigm. In addition, the anomaly cannot be answered by normal research and problem-solving skills within the paradigm, regardless of the modifications.

Therefore, it can be said that crises and scientific revolution both begin with the recognition of an anomaly and the loosening of a paradigm and its associated rules. As the anomaly becomes more widely recognized, more research is devoted to resolving the anomaly, which changes the face of the discipline. As the anomaly is explained, it causes competition between competing explanations of the original paradigm. The result is that there are only three ways that a crisis can be resolved. The first method is for scientists to develop a method whereby normal science can explain the anomaly at the base of the crises; this results in a return to the normal science, perhaps with modifications. The second way a crisis can be resolved is for scientists to continue to recognize the anomaly, but to explain its presence by claiming to lack the necessary tools to solve the problem created by the anomaly. The third method is the road to scientific revolution, because it results in the beginning of a new paradigm.

The creation of a new paradigm is essential to scientific revolution because paradigms will not be invalidated unless they can be replaced. To do otherwise would be a rejection of science. The transition from a paradigm in crisis to a new paradigm involves a reconstruction of the field and the establishment of new fundamentals. These new fundamentals include new theories, rules, methods, and applications. The result is a new paradigm.

The transition to a new paradigm is, according to Kuhn, a scientific revolution. The reason that Kuhn believes it is a revolution is because such a paradigm shift is the result of a noncumulative change. Furthermore, Kuhn believes such change is similar to a political revolution because, like opposing political views, there is no resolution of paradigmatic differences. There are several reasons that these differences cannot be resolved. The first reason is perhaps the most important; differences in science are generally resolved by resort to normal science, but without an established paradigm, there can be no normal science. Furthermore, opposing viewpoints resort to their own paradigm to explain differences, which results in moving the paradigms farther apart. Instead of relying on science, scientific revolutions ultimately rely upon nature, logic, and persuasive techniques. The most persuasive paradigm emerges as the only paradigm. In this way, Kuhn argues that the development of a new paradigm brings about the destruction of earlier paradigms because the differences between old and new paradigms are irreconcilable. Furthermore, when a paradigm changes, so do the problems and proposed solutions perceived by the advocates of that paradigm.

A result of this change is that paradigm changes, while originating in the world of science and resolved in that same world, have a much broader effect. Simply put, scientific revolutions create changes, even revolutionary changes in the world at large. It is this change in world-view that highlights the interaction between science and the perception of truth. Scientists are not the only people who are limited by their paradigms in their observation of truth; all people use paradigms to observe, perceive, and interpret facts. Therefore, it is the paradigms that define truth, at least in that moment.

While this relationship between science and truth is the subject of current discussion and debate, the fact is that the relationship between science and truth has been relatively constant. Science, however it has been defined, has consistently been equated with truth. It is interesting that, even when a brief view of the history of science reveals constant revelations in what is considered truth; people continue to adhere to the idea that truth is science. Of course, truth has always been related to perception; in fact, a statement that is truthful in one context may be untruthful in another context. Therefore, science provides the context for determining truth. In return, establishing truths creates the paradigms, which create research problems, which results in the discovery of anomalies, which eventually results in the creation of new truths. The result is that without science there is no truth, and without truth there is no science.[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Thomas Kuhn's Philosophy Of Science" (2005, November 11) Retrieved October 26, 2016, from

"Thomas Kuhn's Philosophy Of Science" 11 November 2005. Web.26 October. 2016. <>

"Thomas Kuhn's Philosophy Of Science", 11 November 2005, Accessed.26 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Thomas Kuhn s Theory of Scientific

    This was based on what little normative science could be carried out through crossing different animals. It was an accepted fact to many in the animal husbandry business. The first creative breakthrough occurred in 1868 when a young Swiss physician, Freiderich Meischer, isolated something that had not been seen before. This creative scientist isolated nucleic acid, a compound found in both DNA and RNA (Fredholm). This discovery sparked a

  • Thomas Kuhn s the Structure of

    What they had regarded as the most certain of all theories turned out to be in need of serious revision. In reaction, they resolved never again to bestow their faith in scientific truth unconditionally. Skepticism, not certainty, became their watchword. (ibid) The implication of Kuhn's work was that science was seen to be dependent on history. It was no longer superior to historical analysis but could only be understood within the

  • Philosophy Kuhn s Rationale on the Irrationality of

    Philosophy Kuhn's Rationale on the Irrationality of Scientific Revolutions "Communities in this sense exist, of course, at numerous levels. The most global is the community of all natural scientists." ~Thomas S. Kuhn, from The Structure of Scientific Revolutions To understand Thomas Kuhn's ideas regarding scientific revolutions, one must have a grasp on Kuhn's ideas relating to the history of science in general. Kuhn's perspective on the history of science is that scientific knowledge is

  • Thomas Kuhn s Structure of Scientific

    The concept of the paradigm shift, however, negates the very idea that truth could ever actually be reached. Each paradigm -- which only gives way to another paradigm, leaving all knowledge and understanding ultimately tied to some semblance of foundational assumptions. There is no getting beyond the assumptions, as they are a necessary component (in Kuhn's view) of establishing any sort of causal understanding at all. Science is then, taking

  • Thomas Kuhn s Paradigm Theory

    Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) was an American scientist, historian and philosopher who wrote a controversial book in 1962 called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and from an early age expressed interest in science, particularly physics; obtaining his BS degree in physics from Harvard in 1943. He stayed at Harvard for his MS and PhD, and credits the period of the late 1940s in helping him

  • Kuhn s Paradigm Shift An

    This means that the older paradigm is replaced by the new and the new concepts and views and the new are not compatible with the old. "...the new paradigm cannot build on the preceding one. Rather, it can only supplant it..." (Thomas Kuhn). Kuhn's theory was in effect challenging a view of scientific progress that had begun with Comte and the Enlightenment. This refers to the original view and belief

  • Kuhn s Concept of the Paradigm

    He describes Kuhn's specific concepts and shows the philosopher's evolution in thought on the topic. The Encyclopedia of Social Theory has as its objective the education of people searching for information on a specific topic. As such, the site is useful for those looking for information on Kuhn. The site also appears reliable, as it is part of a large network of articles. The author also cites a variety

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved