I know what a paradigm change is and what the phlogiston theory is, I am just struggling to find out why Kuhn considered it as a paradigm change. Is it because he discovered oxygen? Which changed everything?
Kuhn believes that fundamental shifts in science occur more as a result
of learning to see phenomena from a whole new perspective instead of through
detailed, point-by-point argumentation and likewise when he does philosophy
he invites readers to share his philosophical conceptual scheme rather than
pounding away at other philosophical views. Thus, in a famous confrontation
with Popper in 1965, he begins by commenting on Popper's metaphors rather
than by trying to analyze, sharpen, and argue about their points of disagreement.
Kuhn's mode of philosophizing makes it very difficult for critics to pin
down exactly what his position is. In a later section we will review some
of the major issues his work has raised, such as the problems of incommensurability
and the rationality of normal science. But let me begin in a Kuhnian fashion
by presenting a brief case study from the history of science in such a way
that it may serve as an exemplar of Kuhnian scientific development, namely
the Copernican Revolution. In doing so, I do not mean to imply that an
interpretation of this episode from the perspective of Kuhn's philosophy
is the correct or the best way to view it. Neither do I claim that Kuhn's
own historical work on the Copernican Revolution is intended to buttress
his later philosophical theory. He is much too good a historian to write
history using any philosophical formula - even his own.
Apr 10th, 2015
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