08
Oct
08

Kuhn’s THe Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas S. Kuhn
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies

•    Two tasks of scientific development: determine time line of discoveries and explain the inhibitions
•    Science: incremental process
•    No scientific group can practice without received beliefs
•    Scientific Revolutions: extraordinary episodes that shift professional commitments
•    Normal science: research firmly based on past achievements
•    Science is much more successive; Humanities more renewed and revisited
•    Equal facility
•    Bacon: “truth emerges more rapidly from error than from confusion”
•    The existence of the paradigm sets the problem to be solved
•    Bringing a normal research problem to a conclusion is achieving the anticipated in a new way
•    The assured existence of a solution defines a puzzle
•    Rules derive from paradigms, but paradigms can guide research in the absence of rules
•    To reject one paradigm without simultaneously substituting another is to reject science itself
148: competition between paradigms isn’t one that can be settled with proofs
Notes from class
•    What’s Kuhn saying? Relation to rhetoric
•    Model of logic—analysis of logic to that point
•    Reduce knowledge—model more purposeful
•    How do you get a new theory?
•    Up until mid-50s: accumulation = science
•    Science is social activity: Kuhn
•    Paradigm: normal science; “solving puzzles”; once solved, new ones emerge
•    Paradigm Shift: Gestalt—seeing things differently; Duck or Rabbit; Nature of scientific change has something to do with shift in perception
•    What’s a paradigm?
o    Science: base assumptions
•    Inductive reasoning
•    Accumulated knowledge in a certain way
•    Shows what paths are available
•    Retroactive assignment
o    Elaboration until contradiction?
•    Invention: successful rhetorical argument?
•    Bazerman: Shaping Written Knowledge
o    Watson/Crick
o    Anomulous evidence that you needed to account for
•    Persuasive appeals—see evidence differently
•    Kuhn: persuasion’s a huge part of scientific knowledge
•    How text in science get taken up and argued
•    Solve old problems and new ones
•    Discovery of available means
o    Invention
•    Theory or fact: which came first?
•    Science: “bad” hermeneutics
•    Science textbook: experiments
•    Blindness and Insight: de Man
•    Progress through error
•    Exceptional science?

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