Scientific Revolution Thomas Kuhn Summary

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Thomas Kuhn
In 1962, Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922-1996) published his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. In reaction, the book caused an uproar because of Kuhn’s critique of science and the way scientists conduct research. In his book, Kuhn introduces the concept of ‘paradigms’ and to be able to explain what Kuhn defines as such and the influence these have on science and the acquisition of knowledge, an explanation of Kuhn’s terms ‘normal science’ and ‘revolution’ will also take place in this paper.
Concerning ‘normal science’, Kuhn says in his book: “In this essay, ‘normal science’ means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time
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Simultaneously, one can only understand the text as a whole if one understands each part. Understanding and pre-understanding presuppose one another. Not only does this definition of the Hermeneutic circle lead directly back to Hegel’s dialectical process, it also leads back to Kuhn. As a requisite for any comprehension, we must possess a pre-understanding – a paradigm – of the text or case we wish to understand. A student knowing absolutely nothing about French cultural movements might examine a painting by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and to the student, the painting might be nothing more than an abstract, odd-structured face: Not provoking nor rewarding in any way. However, during Picasso’s time, the cultural movement of surrealism was prevailing, an artistic movement “which sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images” . Reading the definition of the French movement in the English dictionary provides the student with just enough instruction for him to begin perceiving the painting in a new way, a different way. Hermeneutics is many things and this is just one part of it. One can read text A, then read text B, and then go back to reading text A – and all of a sudden, one will see new details in text A, that he did not notice before. Going from A to B and back to A also resembles Hegel’s dialectics. This way of moving back and forth is crucial within the study of the humanities: Constantly seeking new information on a topic, changing one’s mind, drawing new parallels and conclusions, etc. The result of 2+2 might never change, but culture, psychology, evolution, people, politics, philosophy, history, etc. consistently will. The study of the humanities is indeed advanced in this way as one will never find

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