Thomas S. KuhnThe Structure of Scientific RevolutionsReviewed by David Freer Science is a human endeavor built upon
broken by revolutions instead of aninexorable march towards absolute truth. Observation occurs within the framework of a paradigm. Most scientists work as caretakers, mopping up and dealing with details of a paradigm. Every so often, however, a young scientist breaks with convention; the resultis a
. From the present, Kuhn discusses Einstein, Maxwell, Newton,and Aristotle, among others. Such scientific breakthroughs from these men may producemore accurate measurements although they are not usually accepted by the rest of thescientific community immediately. Science moves by evolution and revolution; at itsheart it is a human endeavor with fits and stops. The idea of a continuous road to Truthmust be rejected; we are solving puzzles by working within or around a framework.Our language shapes the nature of scientific debate, according to Kuhn. Consider thequestion, “Who discovered Oxygen?” The answer depends on what is meant by oxygen!Complicated scientific history is reduced to a single piece of trivia. Furthermore,textbooks are written to propagate the existing paradigm with little explanation of the process. After the community of scientists agrees on a paradigm, it takes youthfulexuberance of the slightly uninitiated to create a revolution. Though Kuhn is no fan of aneducational system which immerses students in textbooks, he does admit to itseffectiveness (p. 165).