Thomas Kuhn suggests that the problem that Darwin presented to the modern mind was not evolution as such. The idea that man had evolved from preceding forms of more and more primitive life had been present for some time in various modes. In all of these forms, however, there was always a goal, a telos, to the process. Whether an idea in the mind of God or a plan inherent in nature the process of evolution was being directed to a specific end. (171) The novelty of Darwin’s position was that evolution took place through the process of natural selection. That is, Darwin removed teleology from the equation. (172) One could say that Darwin moved evolution into pure immanence. Continue reading
Thomas Kuhn writes that: “In so far as (scientists) only recourse to (the) world (of their research) is through what they see and do, we may want to say that after a revolution scientists are responding to a different world.” (SSR, 111) The question becomes: in what way does Kuhn mean this statement, as purely factual or merely metaphorical? To begin with one must take note of a statement he makes later in the same section, “… the scientist after a revolution is still looking at the same world.” (129) So, it is safe to say that Kuhn is a realist of some sort. Continue reading
Scientific revolutions are those moments in the history of science in which one paradigm is replaced by another. In order to clarify further, Kuhn compares scientific revolutions to political revolutions. In political revolutions there is a growing sense of dissatisfaction with the governing institutions that eventually reaches a threshold: similarly, in scientific revolutions the paradigm—it’s methodology, tools, theories and ontology—has ceased to facilitate exploration in an arena in which it had previously led the way and thus dissatisfaction grows. (92) Another, and what Kuhn refers to as a more profound parallel is that of incommensurability. Continue reading
Kuhn is intent on showing that normal science takes place only within paradigms. Paradigms provide the procedures, applications (standard tests and instruments), laws and theories that allow normal science to carry out investigation. (60) In short, they provide scientists with a picture of the way the world is and what kind of phenomenon can be expected. Yet, this picture shows itself to be problematic at times when phenomenon arise that the paradigm has not prepared investigators for. (57) Continue reading
For Thomas Kuhn normal science consists of moping up exercises. (SSR, 24) What Kuhn means by this can only be explicated further when one understands what he means by paradigms.
While many understand the history of science to be a continuous chain of discoveries and enlightenment, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Thomas Kuhn suggests another picture. For him science is characterized by both continuity and discontinuity. The continuity of science is found in temporally located research traditions, i.e. paradigms, while the discontinuity is found in the transitions that take place from one paradigm to another. Continue reading
Vertigo—a sense of dizziness felt when staring into the abyss of complexity.
When one is assaulted by the freedom of an I-tunes gift card and the infinite choices presented there in, one cannot but feel vertigo. One can spend all time traversing the infinite connection of signifiers—different bands, albums, genres, artists and music-mixes.
This vertigo now characterizes all of life, to such an extent that when someone says that the answer is simple an impulse propels us towards consent. A biological impulse sent through our system in order to assuage a low-level anxiety that is constantly reminding us of a lack of homeostasis.
This impulse propels us towards all types of options. Continue reading
Inerrant or Infallible?
Both of these delineations, while the later surely has some heuristic use, suggest to me idolatry. Continue reading