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The Thomas Kuhn View

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Thomas Kuhn was born in 1922 and died in 1996; he was one of the most influential philosophers ever to have lived. Kuhn was a realist; this can be defined as "belief in an external world that exists and acts independently of our knowledge of it or beliefs about it." (D. Gregory ed. 2009) However a rationalist is someone who strives to achieve ends of a satisfactory level and that human action is motivated by getting the most for the least. It is his judgment in 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions', a very popular book and one of the most cited scientific books of all time, that has been critically reviewed by many, including Jones (1974) and Shapere (1964). Kuhn brought a new style to the philosophy of science in today's world was originally a physician, after graduating with a degree in physics in 1946 he then went on to teaching in Harvard, it was at Harvard that he got the opportunity to research science, which was the start of his work on the philosophy of science.

Kuhn published his first book in 1957, called 'The Copernican Revolution', however it was his second piece of work in 1962 which really changed the philosophy of science. The makeup of Scientific Resolutions is a controversial topic. The main argument of the book was paradigms. The main purpose of a paradigm was to give scientists a problem to solve and also to provide them with the options for their solution. A problem in science usually occurs when scientists are not convinced on an existing system (Paradigm) to solve anomalies, if the current paradigm is then overtaken by another system, then this is known as a paradigm shift, and scientific revolution has taken place. "A paradigm is the constellation of values, assumptions, methods and exemplars shared by a given scientific community, making it what it is. A paradigm shapes what scientists think about something before they think about it." (D. Gregory ed. 2009) Another key argument in 'The Kuhnian View' was that science is not totally based on reason, Kuhn acknowledged that factors such as race and culture determine science. "Historian of science Thomas Kuhn gave this word paradigm its contemporary meaning when he adopted it to refer to the set of practices that define a scientific discipline during a particular period of time." (Ozsay, B (2008)). As described in Kuhn's first book, a paradigm is what is being scrutinized by the scientist, questions that are investigated to be asked and also their answers, how these questions should be structured and how the results should then be interpreted. A paradigm can also be known as 'Normal Science' or 'Exemplar Science' to be more meaning specific, as the term 'paradigm' is arguable, as one critic counting twenty one different meanings for the term in Kuhn's first book, Shapere also criticised that the meaning of 'paradigms' was not specific.

The disciplinary matrix is also a critical concept of Kuhn's argument; the disciplinary matrix is shared assumptions and beliefs that account for the agreement in a scientific community. The matrix is the theoretical, methodological and evaluative structure from which research is conducted by scientists. Kuhn uses the idea to describe the intangible factors which create consensus of the previous idea of a paradigm. In Kuhn's argument he maintains that the sense of paradigm as a disciplinary matrix is not as constitutional as the sense of a paradigm as an exemplar. Exemplars in contrast are more tangible factors that create a consensus in a scientific community.

Another one of Kuhn's key arguments was the concept of 'incommensurability' known as 'topic-incommensurability, incommensurability by 'dissociation' and 'meaning-incommensurability'. Firstly topic-incommensurability is when a new theory is concentrating on different concepts than the original theory, thus would be impossible to compare. Meaning-incommensurability is that no one language exists in science, therefore comparing theories is difficult. Lastly incommensurability by dissociation is that if a paradigm



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