Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bill Storage — Are You Kuhnian?

For the epistemologically inclined:
So let’s take a look at the minimal Kuhn and then some of the main flavors of Kuhnians. Among Kuhn essentials, I see:
1. There is normal science and then revolutionary science, which causes a paradigm shift to the next normal science.
2. Revolutions, originating in crisis, are required for paradigm shifts
3. Inter-paradigmatic communication is impossible (Kuhn’s “incommensurability”).
4. Theories fully pervade observation; observation language that is free of theoretical influence is impossible (Kuhn vs. Popper)
5. Paradigms dictate - not reflect – the world. Reality is constructed, not observed.
6. The ultimate desideratum of truth is solidarity.
The first three claims are what Kuhn and his defenders see as his core material. But he explicitly and repeatedly states points 4 and 5 in unambiguous terms – and point 5 in terms nearly identical to the postmodern constructivists who preceded him. Point 5 is something Kuhn doesn’t state explicitly but is an unavoidable conclusion from his discussion of points one through three.
The Multidisciplinarian
Are You Kuhnian?
Bill Storage

Clarification: "normal science" means doing science within a paradigm. It's what scientists normally do "as a rule" (norm = rule).

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