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Phil 3318: Philosophy of Science

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Phil 3318: Philosophy of Science Kuhn-ian Revolutions Real Revolutions as metaphor. Scientific Revolutions are those non-cumulative developmental episodes in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Phil 3318: Philosophy of Science


1
Phil 3318 Philosophy of Science
  • Kuhn-ian Revolutions

2
Real Revolutions as metaphor.
  • Scientific Revolutions are those non-cumulative
    developmental episodes in which an older paradigm
    is replaced in whole or in part by an
    incompatible one (92)

3
Analogical points
  1. Revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense,
    often restricted to a segment of the political
    community, that existing institutions have ceased
    to adequately meet the problems posed by an
    environment that they have in part created (92)

4
  • 2. (although Kuhn doesnt number it) Revolutions
    often seem revolutionary only to those whose
    paradigms are affected to them.

5
  • 3. (numbered 2) Success of a revolution
    necessitates, in part, the relinquishment of one
    set of institutions in favor of another, an in
    the interim, society is not governed by
    institutions at all.

6
Conclusion
  • Well, that seems to be point (3).
  • During revolutions, society is divided into
    competing camps or parties one seeking to
    defend the old, others seeking to replace it with
    new.
  • (There may be competing new camps as well)
  • Once that kind of polarization occurs, political
    recourse fails.

7
  • The parties are fighting over the legitimacy of
    institutions by which political decisions can be
    made for that very reason, there is no
    political mechanism for adjudicating between the
    parties.
  • So, the parties must take to the streets
    appeal to something other than political will
    (such as God, history, etc) or resort to force.

8
  • The success of the winner is determined not by
    political institutions, but by extrapolitical
    institutions by the very fact that they replace
    those institutions by which they legitimize
    themselves.

9
Therefore, by analogy
  • Scientific revolutions gain legitimacy not by
    factors internal to science, but by
    extra-scientific methods, such as social factors.
    And this is precisely because the issue at stake
    is the legitimacy of factors internal to science.

10
Revolutions as Gestalt-switch
  • Kuhn argues from history (Discovery of Uranus,
    electrostatic repulsion, Laviosiers O2 v.
    Priestleys dephlogisticated air, etc) that
    scientific revolutions shift perception much like
    the shift in perception of anomalous playing
    cards, the duck-rabbit or the Necker cube.
  • Well, lets look at the Examples

11
How revolutions morph into normal science
  • Authority!
  • As a paradigmatic case is accepted, it is taught
    to future scientists as if it had always been the
    case. There is little or no acknowledgement of
    the previously existing paradigm, or the crisis
    that sparked the paradigm shift in the first
    place.
  • Anyone taught about pre-plate tectonic geology
    lately?

12
  • Plate tectonics was proposed by Alfred Wegener in
    1912.
  • Evidence Fit of the E coastline of S. America
    with W. coastline of Africa.
  • Similar plant animal fossils found on these two
    coasts
  • Other unusual geological structures found in
    both places.
  • Mechanism tidal pressure, centrifugal force.

13
Why not?
  • Forces too weak
  • Forces would destroy, not maintain, coastline
    shapes via erosion
  • Ocean floor would rip apart continents.
  • (Harold Jeffereys)

14
Evidence in support
  • 1947 sediment on the Atlantic floor was less
    than predicted if floor was 4 bill years old (no
    continental movement).
  • 1950s magnetic striping of rocks in middle of
    Atlantic crest. (suggested movement, but also
    expansion of globe)
  • 1960s Evidence from earthquake analysis of the
    Pacific that earth was being sucked down, at
    the same rate as it was bubbling up in the
    Atlantic.

15
Revolution
  • 1975-1978 mechanism of floating continents
    proposed by Hess and Dietz.
  • Consistent (based upon) convection theory of
    physics exemplifying interdisciplinary
    collaboration
  • Suggested vast new research projects
  • Explained earthquakes and volcanoes in ring of
    fire.
  • Explained island arcs and mid-oceanic ridges.

16
Points of contact with previous theories
  1. In revolutionary science, auxiliary hypotheses
    operate to restrict the range of phenomena to be
    explained (100)
  2. The positivistic laws are genuinely incompatible
    between paradigms (101) stated as a problem for
    positivists
  3. Paradigms include not only a cognitive aspect,
    but a normative one. (109)

17
Normative
  • 2 claims
  • A paradigm sets not only the criteria for a
    consistent theory, but the criteria for doing
    science.
  • Judgments about previous paradigms are generally
    made in terms of rightness i.e. I once saw the
    moon as a planet, but I was mistaken. (Ch X)

18
Corollaries
  • Interpretation can only articulate a paradigm
    paradigms are not corrigible by normal science
    at all. (122)
  • Why?

19
Ch X
  • Is filled with a whole bunch of what I consider
    bad philosophy of perception extrapolating
    widely from empirical evidence of underdetermined
    perception.
  • The duck-rabbit shows that two men with the same
    retinal image can see different things

20
Practicality
  • The dominant model of training new scientists is
    the textbook. Textbooks truncate history and
    provide a sanitized story almost Orwellian in
    nature that the things that are true now have
    always been true, and will always continue to be
    true.

21
Effects
  • Students feel a part of a long-standing tradition
    The set of problems addressed by contemporary
    science is viewed as the same set of problems
    always considered scientific i.e. Alchemy as
    competitor to Chemistry
  • Scientific history is seen as a linear process
    arriving at the present position. (138)

22
Thus
  • Textbook are tools of a post-revolutionary
    Orwellian movement to construct normal
    scientists thinkers who take the contemporary
    paradigm as all that ever was both cognitively
    and normatively.
  • They are the basis of a normal science.

23
Why would anyone rebel?
  • I.e. test a paradigm Same as political a
    growing body of evidence that the system just
    isnt working. (Matthew Dowd)

24
Side note (for Kuhn)
  • During revolutionary periods, factors such as
    elegance neatness or simplicity of a theory
    have a profound effect on its acceptance (155)
  • But aesthetic considerations are not enough
    there must be a crisis to get the problem
    started! (158)

25
Implications
  • Falsification Popper is operative during
    periods of revolutionary science.
  • Verificationism Hempel (or something like it)
    is operative during normal science

26
  • Progressive v Degenerative although Kuhn doesnt
    use these terms matters for both revolutionary
    (settling which competitor will win) and normal
    (new avenues of research suggested).
  • And, during revolutionary periods ANYTHING GOES

27
So
  • Kuhn agrees with Everyone!
  • Happy happy joy joy!.

28
Contemporary Examples
  • Behaviorism -gt Cognitive science?
  • Neuroscience replacing folk psychology?
  • Linguistics!
  • Note notice how the ID people have used Kuhns
    rhetoric to try to play the victim
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