Thomas Kuhn: Kuhnian Approach and Normal Science and Crisis Stage

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Kuhnian Approach

  • Challenged common assumptions about how science changes
  • Proposed his theory of how changes in science take place
  • Rejected the cumulative view
  • He argued, science is dominated by a scientific paradigm at any given time
  • What is a paradigm?
  • Fundamental image of the subject matter of science
  • What, how and why?

Normal Science and Crisis Stage

Normal Science

  • Period of accumulation of knowledge
  • Scientists expand existing knowledge
  • Anomalies
  • Findings that cannot be explained by reigning paradigm

Crisis Stage

  • Anomalies mount
  • May end in a scientific revolution
  • Reigning paradigm is replaced with new one
  • Birth of a new paradigm
  • Cycle repeats
  • Periods of revolutions bring about great changes.
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolution, 1962
Science to Crisis to Science

Purpose of Paradigm?

  • Differentiate one scientific community from another e. g. , physics and chemistry
  • Differentiate between historical stages in development of science
  • Differentiate between same science on basis of cognitive groups e. g. , In case of multiple paradigms


Q. 1. Theories are part of larger ________

1. Images

2. Paradigms

3. Instruments

4. Consensus

Answer: 2. Paradigms

Q. 2. Kuhn argued that changes in sciences occur ________

1. In a cumulative manner

2. As a result of revolutions

3. Advances build upon the preceding one

4. None of these

Answer: 2. As a result of revolutions

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