Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Thomas Kuhn's critics

  1. Sep 11, 2004 #1
    Thomas Kuhn's "critics"


    I have read this chapter XI of Kuhn's Structures of Scientific Revolutions...

    Are there such philsophers who were for/against Kuhn's invisibility of revolutions? I am interested to know what are their sides to Kuhn's invisibility of revolution...
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 11, 2004 #2
    http://wc0.worldcrossing.com/WebX?14@165.8dWZcIAWHbe.9@.1dde5f07 [Broken]

    I would have to look specifically and will. But I would first draw your attention to self Adjoint's assessment.


    In my time spend with this other poster I approached this subject from a different angle, and incorporated questions and insights of this gentlemen. I was then able to catelogue his insights(distilled questions from reading Kuhn) with pespective views in my research.

    Of course these had to incorporate some of the views of today. New roads to describing this quantum geometry of quantum gravity. Certainly a revolution in my books. We find that this struggle was not limited to the views share for us by Einstein's insights, but his resistance meet in Bohr's view in the issues of Solvay.

    Paradigmal change, even when new insight is developed in regards to these anomalies, is not a bad thing, if taken seriously. Because it forces people to go to their books, much as Bohr did when thought expeirments were placed in front of him and Schrodinger. As a result the world of quantum mechanics we also went through with it's own revolution. :smile:

    So this squaring off if I may, has certain advantages all around. Einstein was very comfortable I believe with the model he had created, so the world presented by Bohr of quantum mechanics although unsettling has a issue it had to contend with. Everything worked fine in a cosmological setting, but did not work very well down below. :smile:

    People are working on this today.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  4. Sep 13, 2004 #3
    Thanks.. but can I ask some questions.. I want to know more deeper but simply about Kuhn's invisibility of revolutions...

    - What does invisibility means in "Invisibility of Revolution"? Is it literally not seen by our naked eye?

    - Also... why is it that the revolution, Accdg. to Kuhn, is invisible..? "Because paradigm shifts are generally viewed not as revolutions but as additions to scientific knowledge, and because the history of the field is represented in the new textbooks that accompany a new paradigm, a scientific revolution seems invisible." This is the reason, right? I want to fully understand this in layman's term...

    - Are there some practical examples that could explain this invisibility of revolutions?

    - Also, I want to know what constitutes the invisibility of revolutions...what are those?

    And, what are the factors that would constitute the invisibility of revolutions?

    Because of the "existence" of invisibility of revolutions, what could be the effect?
  5. Sep 13, 2004 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Welcome to Physics Forums, irony of truth!

    No, it's not literally 'seen'.

    AFAICS, it refers to the perception of how science changes ... for almost all people (other than at a superficial level, as presented by popular media, for example), change in science can be 'seen' only through textbooks (according to Kuhn). So, if the textbooks - whose content changes over time - do not reflect what the part of science was like before 'the revolution', then no one (other than a few historians of science and curious readers; oh, and a handful of active scientists in the particular field ... until they die) will have any significant insight into what actually happened during the revolution.

    In this sense, Kuhn is making it clear that science is most definitely not history!

    For your other questions, I'll have to go dig up my copy and re-read it to be able to answer ... l8ter.
  6. Sep 13, 2004 #5
    Yes, Nereid spells it out in regards to the text books.

    The quiet revolution and what is invisible is leading researchers, and here I coud have referred to Smolin or a Witten, and find that these might be the professors, crossing the room kind of people( that's a Higg's joke) and how such thinking could have been formalized, as it spreads through communications like these forums.

    On the outer most extreme civilization(the outer rim and the gravity associated measured in the professors original idea, and inverse square length tells us much about these views from there origination) is being warmed to the views of Kip thorne and Wheeler, although we would have not recognized the tangible of their association in LIGO.

    Most people in society do not know the origins of this world cosmologically, yet it has physically manifested itself here on earth. Voila :smile:

    You had to know where this thinking emerged, to my way of thnking, and this is tracible(call it history[ the books are not showing this becuase they are frozen views in time], No!? :smile: ) although not easily perceptible.
    Something triggers in the mind( a anomalie) and further insightual developement occurs, the revolution is manifestng itself today, and the war of the worlds(words) is continuing. Somehtng will come out of it as both arose out of Einstein and Bohr's relative positions, as it wil arise out of strings and LQG. They are driving each other? :surprised
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2004
  7. Sep 13, 2004 #6
    What is 'AFAICS'? It's my first time to encounter that word...

    What made Kuhn think that science is not history? Also, If Kuhn said that science is not history, what is science accdg. to him? =)
  8. Sep 13, 2004 #7
    By the way, who were the philosophers who generally criticized (whether in favor of or against) Kuhn's structure of scientific revolutions?
  9. Sep 13, 2004 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    As far as I can see :wink:

    Kuhn followed Popper (a philosopher), in time, in his study of what science actually IS.

    The main successors to Kuhn - in this field - were Lakatos and Feyerabend, with a large cast of other characters.

    The main criticisms of Kuhn (IIRC) were that his 'paradigm shift' didn't really happen the way Kuhn described them, when you got down to examining things in detail. Further, most of most scientists' working lives aren't spent in taking part in revolutions or paradigm shifts; Kuhn was largely silent on this (so he could only address a small part of what science actually IS).
  10. Sep 13, 2004 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I recall reading a refutation of Kuhn's ideas in David Deutsch's The Fabric of Reality. Here are a few relevant excerpts:

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2004
  11. Sep 14, 2004 #10
    Does it talk about Kuhn's invisibility of revolution? =)
  12. Sep 14, 2004 #11
    Hello ^_^

    I don't like to be off-topic, but it seems 'irony of truth' and I have the same problem - Studying Kuhn.

    Only this time I'm faced with a different chapter - V. The Priority of Paradigm.

    (Makes you wonder if I know the guy)

    Irony: Now, when you mean critics of Kuhn, do you mean those in favor of Kuhn or those against Kuhn? Or maybe both?

    If this helps - Lakatos could be one critic, since he started his critique of science right after Kuhn. ^_^

    To all: I wouldn't like to be a pain, but I have some questions too, but to be more general for the sake of "irony of truth"'s questions as well, my questions are:

    1.) Are there any book(s) that criticize Kuhn? The Fabric of Reality appears to be a book, and it seems helpful enough, but I'd like to know if there are other sources.

    2.) Are there any online articles out there that give their own criticisms of Kuhn? Because after 2 exhausting days of searching every search engine out there, I still have little criticisms of Kuhn.

    And also, does the Fabric of Reality have anything to say (mainly, if they agree or disagree) particularly about paradigms preceeding any set of rules for science?

    Hope I didn't ask for too much. Thanks for any help. ^_^
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2004
  13. Sep 14, 2004 #12
    I don't mean to get off track either.

    I would have liked to use the foundation of mathematics as a case in point about successive changes?
  14. Sep 14, 2004 #13


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The ebla forum's History and Philosophy of Science section might be a good place to start; Hugo - who is an admin there - is also a PF member. IMHO, there are lots of good resources on that site too.
  15. Sep 14, 2004 #14
    apologies for side stepping here for a moment


    Did you not like my comment on the Cat's Eye in response to your astronomy today?

    There is a new picture of the Cat's eye that's out, do you have access?

  16. Sep 15, 2004 #15
    The irony of truth is that it has to be self evident.

    If Kuhn's world is assigned mathematical interpretation as a basis( and one does not forget another posters quote here), then if the views proposed by Kuhn are considered in these steps mathematically, they are successive.

    This reminds me of the question as to whether mathematics was discovered or created?

    We have been given some mighty puzzles by notable persons who have stupified people for a long time. Poincare? Euclid and his Fifth Postulate? Add some yourself.

    Again reference to the foundation of mathematics and the philsophical views open the topic quite largely. How would anomalies present themselves and how would quiet revolutions take place if not theoretcially, and consistently?

    Such astractions set up society for prospective views to be validated, and all the time it developed itself consistently along prospectves view of a physics that many had not considered?

    Could it have been done without a comsological view? Could it have been done without a quantum view? To me this is the esence of the quiet revolution that is taking place, and there are no books for it(the mathematics is being developed). That comes later, and in time revision to those books becomes important yet would all new mathematics reflect itself in the history? It has too :smile: or it had no where to begin from?
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2004
  17. Sep 16, 2004 #16

    Sir, have you got them?

    I got some few questions...
    How come normal science and the nature of scientific education and popularization is the reason for scientific revolution?

    What has made Kuhn think that textbooks disguise the role of revolutions and the existence of revolutions?

    What made Kuhn think that science is cumulative?
  18. Sep 21, 2004 #17
    Thanks for the help.. now I got to sum them up.
  19. Oct 1, 2004 #18
    Hello... did Kuhn ever suggested something, from the fact that textbooks are not reliable? What is it?
  20. Oct 24, 2004 #19
    The fundamental question is whether there is such thing as 'Paradigm shift' in the first place. When one paradigm swiftly overthrows the another, does it make any reference to that overthrown? If it does, then the movement from one paradigm to the next is a mere revisional exercise that does not leave the entire science community intellectually dazed or sleepwalking. Kuhn should have concentrated in showing clear but systematic scientific progress via plying logically consistent revisional pathways. I am more with the notion that one paradigm or theory revises another but does so coherently, and not with the one that teleports intelligent beings from one oblovion to the next in miraculously disconnected fashion.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook