Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Summary: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions/ Kuhn - chapter 10


·       After a scientific revolution, “scientists are responding to a different world.” (p. 111)

·       “[T]hough the world does not change with a change of paradigm, the scientist afterward works in a different world.” (p. 121)

·       What scientists “see” during their research depends on the normal science tradition in which they operate. Therefore, the world that scientists “see” after a scientific revolution seems incommensurable with the world they “saw” before the revolution. (p. 112)

·       “[S]omething like a paradigm is prerequisite to perception itself.” (p. 113)

·       Paradigm shifts are unlike gestalt switches in the following respect: For gestalt switches there is an external standard with respect to which the switch can be demonstrated. However, for paradigm shifts “[t]he scientist can have no recourse above or beyond what he sees with his eyes and instruments.” (p. 114)

·       Scientists themselves do not report the changes that occur as a result of scientific revolutions as changes of “scientific vision” or “mental transformation with the same effect.” The “evidence that the scientist with a new paradigm sees differently from the way he had seen before” is “indirect and behavioral.” (p. 115)

·       The history of astronomy provides some of this “indirect and behavioral evidence” that scientists “see differently” after a paradigm shift from how they “saw” before. (pp. 116-117)

·       Other examples of this “indirect and behavioral evidence” comes from the histories of the discoveries of electrical repulsion (pp. 117-118), oxygen (p. 118), and the pendulum (pp. 119-120).

·       According to an alternative view, scientists do not “see” the world differently as a result of a scientific revolution but rather simply interpret their observations differently. This view is part of a philosophical paradigm. (pp. 120-121)

·       The history of science is one of the things that suggests that the “interpretation paradigm” is “askew.” (p. 121)

·       Scientific revolutions cannot be reduced to mere reinterpretations of “individual and stable data” for the following reasons:
1.    Scientific data is not stable. (p. 121)
2.    The process of transition from data related to an old paradigm to data related to a new paradigm does not resemble interpretation. (p. 122)
3.    Interpretation usually (always?) presupposes a paradigm.
4.    Interpreting data can articulate a paradigm but not “correct” it. (p. 122)
5.    The “flashes of intuition” that often lead to a new paradigm “are not logically or piecemeal linked to particular items” of experience based on the old paradigm. (pp. 122-123)

·       Scientific data is not stable insofar as sensory experience is not “fixed and neutral.” (p. 126)
1.    There appears to be no way to construct a “neutral language of observation.” (pp. 126-129)
2.    The operations and measurements that scientists typically perform are paradigm-determined. (p. 126)

·       The measurements and “manipulations” that survive scientific revolutions change either (1) in relation to the paradigm or (2) in concrete results. (pp. 129-130)

·       An example of how the measurements and “manipulations” that survive scientific revolutions change in relation to the paradigm is how the work that chemists did in investigating the law of fixed proportions changed as a result of the acceptance of Dalton’s chemical atomic theory. (pp. 130-134)

·       An example of how the measurements and “manipulations” that survive scientific revolutions change with respect to concrete results is how the measured weight ratios of certain chemical elements in compounds changed as a result of the acceptance of Dalton’s chemical atomic theory. (pp. 134-135)

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