HPS211H1 Lecture Notes - Thomas Kuhn, Normal Science

History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Course Code
Curtis Forbes

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January 10. 2013 Lecture
Thomas Kuhn
- Physicist, historian, philosopher
- The structure of scientific revolutions
- Thought that philosophical ideas were important to history
- Father of history and philosophy of science
Chapter IX
- nature and necessity of scientific revolutions
- Sci. revo. Are non-cumulative developmental episodes where on older paradigm is replaced in
whole or in part by an incompatible new one
Key Terms:
- Cumulative
o Before Kuhn’s writings people thought that science was cumulative
o Accumulation only occurs within a specific paradigm
- Paradigm
o Everyone should be on more or less the same page
o Basically the dominant way of understanding the world
- Normal science
o Established set of ‘ best’ tools to use in science
- Anomaly
o Something that does quite fit into the paradigm
- Crisis
o When there are so many anomalies that the paradigm doesn’t makes sense anymore
- Revolution
o Change in the paradigm due to accumulation of anomalies
o Changing fundamental assumptions of research practices
- Why ‘revolution’?
o Change
o Some ‘ chaos; in change over period where there were no clear rules
o Primarily a social phenomena
- Actual science is decidedly non-cumulative
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