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Archive for November, 2012

Why Thomas Kuhn should never aspire to be a referee

Haha. So I’ve never straight-up slammed a famous historian before, but my paper tonight is going to be my first attempt to do so. I also never usually post excerpts from my papers, but I thought this one was pretty cool.

In the world of sports, the referee serves the role of an unbiased judge who enforces the rules of the game by keeping vigilant watch over the proceedings and making decisions based on what he or she sees. In order to be successful, a referee must be keenly focused throughout the match and be able to quickly assess when the rules are being violated. Thomas Kuhn was given no such time constraint when assessing the Scientific Revolution from Aristotle to Newton, yet his results still make me want to stand up and boo him. Was he even paying attention to the Scientific Revolution? The prompt for this paper provides a summary of Kuhn’s hypothesis for scientific theory change, namely that “Kuhn argued that the course of scientific change is characterized by distinct epochs”, and that “[Kuhn] contends that transitions between these epochs are discontinuous and non-cumulative: the entire worldview changes, [and] facts from the preceding epoch are largely discarded”. I contend that none of these characteristics of scientific epochs hold when applied to the evidence of the Scientific Revolution.

Anyways, gotta get back to work.

Love you,

Andy