Kuhn considers science to be a social institution in which social groups and organizations operate. The main unifying principle of the society of scientists is a unified style of thinking, recognition by this society of specific fundamental theories and methods (Sismondo 12). Kuhn calls these provisions uniting the community of scientists a paradigm. According to Kuhn, the development of science is a leap-like, revolutionary process, the essence of which is expressed in a paradigm shift. The development of science is like the development of the biological world – a unidirectional and irreversible process.
tailored to your instructions
for only $13.00 $11.05/page
A scientific paradigm is a set of knowledge, methods, patterns of problem-solving, and values shared by the scientific community. The next level of scientific knowledge after the paradigm is a scientific theory. In the development of science, Kuhn identifies four stages:
- Pre-paradigm, for example, physics before Newton, when the appearance of anomalies – unexplained facts was observed.
- The formation of a paradigm results in the appearance of textbooks that reveal the paradigm theory in detail.
- The stage of normal science. This period is characterized by the presence of a straightforward program of activities (Sismondo 15). Predicting new types of phenomena that do not fit into the prevailing paradigm is not the goal of normal science.
- Extraordinary science is a crisis of the old paradigm, a revolution in science, and the search and design of a new paradigm. Kuhn describes this crisis both from the content side of science’s development and the emotional-volitional side.
Kuhn believes that the choice of theory for the role of a new paradigm is carried out through the consent of the relevant community. Kuhn rejects the principle of fundamentalism since he sees the world through the prism of the paradigm accepted by the scientific community, and the new paradigm does not include the old one. Kuhn breaks with the tradition of “objective knowledge,” independent of the subject (Sismondo 21). For him, knowledge is not something that exists in the imperishable logical world but something in the minds of people of a particular historical epoch burdened with their prejudices. Kuhn’s most outstanding merit is that he introduces the “human factor” into the problem of the development of science, paying attention to social and psychological motives. Kuhn proceeds from the idea of science as a social institution in which certain social groups and organizations operate.
Sismondo, Sergio. An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.