Nov 20, 2009

Saarang's response to the Philosophy of Science Asisgnment

In 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote a book called, “The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions” where he made an analysis of science and its history. In this essay, the statements made by Kuhn will be analyzed one by one, and then judged, based on its underlying logic and examples/situations put forth. Let us see them.

A. A scientific community cannot practice its trade without some set of received beliefs

1. These beliefs form the foundation of the "educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice"

2. The nature of the "rigorous and rigid" preparation helps ensure that the received beliefs exert a "deep hold" on the student's mind.

What Kuhn says is that any scientific community must have a collection of certain well-established or well-accepted theories or assumptions before it actually acts. The initiations of any education are based on these assumptions or beliefs. These initiations involve teaching the students these assumptions and theories and determine their qualities of the students based on the ability of the student to apply them or perceive them. The rigorous training given in this initiation is for these theories to have a deep hold on the students which would help them in achieving the mentioned results.

If X is student of a school or college then, everything taught to X in school or college is based on the theories and assumptions established by the researchers. Every test or exam X gives is for X to always follow this thought out way of thinking. Every work X is given is for the theories and assumptions to be deeply influenced by X.

B. Research is "a strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education"

According to Kuhn, research involves an attempt to study and to classify the laws of any phenomenon in nature, into the various conceptual fields made by society. E.g. =science, commerce, psychology, etc. The researchers literally re-search the concepts behind any phenomenon in nature, and classify them into professional fields of education so as to simplify and specify the knowledge to be learned.

When we try to analyze the various fields or branches of knowledge we know, we would find that any research in any field is done on phenomenon based on the field’s fundamental concepts. However, the concepts themselves are interconnected. For example, research on plants and animals is classified in biology. Biology itself is also classified into various conceptual boxes such as paleontology, zoology, biotechnology, etc. Chemistry is also classified into such boxes such as organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, economic chemistry, etc. All these fields are based on some fundamental laws, classified into the field of Physics. Moreover the formulae and calculation methods which are used to study physics are based on physics. This classification of phenomenon is research.

C. A shift in professional commitments to shared assumptions takes place when an anomaly "subverts the existing tradition of scientific practice". These shifts are what Kuhn describes as scientific revolutions—"the tradition-shattering complements to the tradition-bound activity of normal science".

1. New assumptions (paradigms/theories) require the reconstruction of prior assumptions and the reevaluation of prior facts. This is difficult and time consuming. It is also strongly resisted by the established community.

2. When a shift takes place, "a scientist's world is qualitatively transformed [and] quantitatively enriched by fundamental novelties of either fact or theory"

Kuhn says that the shift in professional commitments to shared assumptions takes place when a better method of perseverance, is formed which shatters the traditional previously established, methods of science practice. It is when there is a shift in the community’s set of assumption or more precisely, the community’s way of thinking. This shift is what, according to Kuhn a scientific revolution. To bring about this change the assumptions or the theories have to be rethought or reevaluated and be put to the test. Naturally, it is nearly impossible to frequently improve a concept nor is it easy to create/recreate/reevaluate a completely different and better assumption or theory. A scientific community would avoid this, as it completely pointless in always trying to contradict our own set of what Kuhn beliefs.

But when this shift does takes place, a scientists discovers a new, improved way of thinking as well as acquires some new information or facts. A rough example I can give is the change that took place after the 1900s when Einstein put his theories based on a newer methodology there was a change in the way of thinking instead of the previous way of thinking which prevailed during the period of Newton.

Finally, we judge these statements as right or wrong. After considering all the statement, in my opinion, Kuhn’s statements are rational, logical, connected and precise about its analysis, thus true