Society and the Scientific Paradigm

By Linda Cochrane.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Thomas Kuhn claims that all scientific discoveries share the same characteristics: namely, an awareness of anomaly and an emergence of observational and conceptual recognition leading to a change of paradigm categories and procedures. He does not, however, discuss how new hypotheses or explanations are formed or invented. Paul Feyerabend claims that scientific progress results from a range of sociological factors which work to promote politically convenient notions of how nature operates. In this paper, I argue that science can benefit from revolutionary social circumstances; that the social circumstances in force at the time that, for instance, Johannes Kepler developed his theories of planetary motion, created an environment which encouraged, albeit indirectly, revolutionary scientific thinking; that there is no Kuhnian scientific revolution without revolutionary hypotheses; and that the formation or invention of these revolutionary hypotheses is a creative act that requires an environment that encourages creativity.

Keywords: Theory, Paradigm, Scientific Revolutions, Hypothesis Formation

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.193-200. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 488.054KB).

Linda Cochrane

PhD Candidate, Philosophy, Linguistics, Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I am currently completing a multi-discilinary (philosophy, linguistics, and psychology) doctoral program. My doctoral dissertation is concerned with the link between natural language and consciousness and, consequently, I have been researching the cognitive science field extensively. I have a Masters degree in philosophy and studied computer science at the Masters level; I have lectured in the philosophy of artificial intelligence, and guest-lectured in evolutionary psychology and in art, philosophy, and neuroscience. I have two Bachelor degrees: one in mathematics and one in philosophy.