Chapter 4 in Thomas Kuhn’s ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ is a fairly brief chapter or essay as he also refers to it. In this chapter, Kuhn suggests that a scientific community solves puzzles. These puzzles are problems that need to be solved within a framework of rules. Kuhn suggest that the scientific community chooses puzzles that they think are solvable. Thus there are the explicit clearly articulated central problems lying within the informal framework of rules. As a result seemingly straightforward amendments of solutions to problems do not work in the scientific community if they do not also address the surrounding framework of rules. Kuhn gives the example of a suggested amendment to Newton’s inverse square law of gravitation which would have enabled researchers to derive the orbit of the moon from Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation. The amendment was ignored by the research community and other findings eventually enabled the derivation to occur without this move away from the central paradigm. Kuhns ideas here form a profound basis for consideration of scientific activities. Such questions can be turned to specific branches of science. We can begin to ask about the rules that govern research in certain areas of psychiatry for instance or reflect on the meaning of the open science movement. We can also ask use these concepts to differentiate science from other social activities.
Thomas Kuhn. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Narrated by Dennis Holland. (Paperback originally published in 1962). Audible. 2009.
For a review of the Introduction see here.
For a review of Chapter 1 see here.
For a review of Chapter 2 see here.
For a review of Chapter 3 see here.
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