And Another Outcome of Theirs
In 1962 Thomas S. Kuhn, a professor in philosophy and history of science at the Institute for Technology (Massachusetts), published the piece The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, causing unbelievable number of commentaries, discussions and reactions, either in professional or dilettante manner; even opening possibilities for new periodization in epistemological science. The author became the founder or initiator of “new philosophy of science” (Dudley Shepere), the “new image” (Ian Hacking), or the new methodological paradigm. No doubt, before all of them, other magnitudes such as Toulmin, Laudan, Feyerabend, Lakatos, and Alexander Koyré may be encountered in the wide range of rebels rebelling against the pertinence of science, sciento-latreia (science-adoration) and the science involvement (especially natural sciences) as ultimate and decisive arbiter in all of the “modern” life spheres. And also without doubt, their desires turn into narrow and profesionalized argumented elaborations. However, Kuhn is honored as “the duke” for his explicitly radical way in which he formulates the need for gestalt switch of the old methodological paradigm. The latter is in fact, marked as being in a state of growing crisis, meaning that its possibilities are exhausted: a state that generates the need for a new approach with inevitable necessity, especially if one keeps in mind the destructive and contaminating repercussions that the very stubborn existing of our exhausted paradigm has in and above a broader range (noticeably broader than the narrow framework of “the scientific community”).
He finds the old image ahistorical, one using the history of science only to provide exemplary logical points, thus generating anachronisms that are “functioning” as smaller or bigger approximations in the imagined rectilinear growth of knowledge as a whole. The tendency to see science as woven in historical subjects net with the inevitable cultural burden is the fundamental step forward. Kuhn, namely, notices expectation-changes in the work of our new historians of sciences: they in flagranti ask their questions in a new dimension. “Rather than seeking the permanent contributions of an older science to our present vantage, they attempt to display the historical integrity of that science in its own time.” (Thomas S. Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, pp.3)
Some of the important attitudes towards science, resulting from the historiografic examinations over particular science episodes from the past, which are at the same time relevant for this piece, are concentrated in terms such as paradigm, incommensurability, incumulativity. The first claims that knowledge without prejudice (in the most positive sense of the word “prejudice”) is a naïve rationalistic ideal, because we have something of a paradigm defining of whatcan pose a problem (model-problems) and of what can be acceptable as its resolving method (model-solutions). The second claims that successful bodies of knowledge with different paradigms are hard to compare, even to the extent that usually it is impossible to define a pre-Revolutionary problem with the category apparatus of the post-Revolutionary normal science (impossibility to express adequately what was the previous science about is as well possible). However, by the reason that older knowledge is always re-considered (and not completed) by means of new– established paradigm, impression of continued rectilinear knowledge advancing is made. This is actually a deceit, as the third claims, because the cumulativness makes sense if and only if there is an ever valid basis for any superstructure or neutral core for judging in our hands ; so the concept of “all possible worlds “ does not have any legitimate place in philosophy of science; and the contingency of the fact and of the meaning is the reasonable outcome of the historical approach towards incommensurable science paradigms (the conventionalist destruction of the fact or of the solid datum as a simulacrum in the traditional view of the one, true and neutral real world has enetered the integral image of the new-comers).
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These notes, though roughly selected and in the same way sketched, too, are sufficient to conceive two conceptually founded consequences of great significance. The first is connected with relativism, which is identified as un-permissible problem by some philosophers of science (Dudley Shapere) who are trying to play the new game, while keeping some of the values of the old epistemological game. These points come out with absolute conclusiveness from the meaning, or paradigm, or inter-theory incommensurability every time until some paradigm-independent (or theory-independent) evaluation principle is incorporated. The second is connected with the relation science – non-science. Conclusion is made that “scientistic” prejudice, which tells us that sciences and “proper knowledge” are co-extensive (Larry Laudan), must be rejected. Science does not have any intrinsic property, which is justifying its preferring status; according to this, one is a fortiori destabilizing the human attitude towards this activity, an attitude that almost gained cult-features.
A propo old-consciousness residews (these probably have to be treated more seriously, namely as necessary properties of the dependent thinking of man, and not as something which is happening to us by accident and therefore can be, even must be suppressed by longtime training) one can notice the magic circle of our reasoning: yet we are in need of scientists as relevant instances to set ourselves free from the very sciento-latreia.