Research Methodology IL5021 Liam Hogan
2. Explain Thomas Kuhn's idea of scientificrevolutions. How relevant are his ideas tothe human and social sciences?
The first edition of Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of ScientificRevolutions" appeared just over 30 years ago, in 1962. His vision hasrevolutionized the way we think about science, and has given us as a newway to look at change in all of life.The vision of science that preceded Kuhn saw science as anaccumulation of all that had been learned over history, each new law addingits weight to the mass of science, and a progression towards an absolutetruth. Kuhn saw something else. He saw a science profoundly altered by amajor new law, so that all of the science might be affected. Kuhn envisioneda science as having, at any one time, a worldview, or 'paradigm', of itsenvironment. This scientific paradigm describes everything that the scienceholds, all of its laws, beliefs, procedures, methods, everything upon which itbases its life. Kuhn felt that most scientists participate in 'normal science’that is any activity consistent with the existing paradigm, with relatively smallgains the rule.Eventually, anomalies arise which the paradigm cannot resolve. Thensome individual(s) may step out of the paradigm, and propose some newprinciple or law. If the scientific community accepts the proposed change,the science experiences a 'paradigm shift', and the new science proceedswith a new paradigm.Even if they have not read Kuhn’s tract, most educated people haveencountered terms like
. They got them throughKuhn’s considerable influence. Kuhn didn’t invent these expressions, butthey are now associated with his name.Kuhn’s was mainly a theory of science and its development over time.He defined a paradigm as a "universally recognized scientific achievement,which for a time provides model problems and solutions to a community of