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Thomas S. Kuhn wrote the philosophical science book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" in 1962. It looks at the history of science and challenges our understanding of what normal scientific progress is. One of the most influential academic works of the 20th century, the book was hailed as a landmark in scientific theory upon its publication. It has a much broader appeal than the scientific community. Both an American historian and a philosopher of science, Kuhn's theories continue to be the subject of heated debate across all scientific schools.

The problem with the mainstream approach to scientific discovery and the fact that every scientific theory is founded on a false assumption are discussed in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." Kuhn looks at our most fundamental theoretical beliefs about science to explain his thesis and explains why logic problems cause revolutions in scientific thought.

Kuhn explains the problems with the way the scientific community works in his introduction. In essence, scientists inherit their predecessors' knowledge and beliefs. Scientists are taught to assume that these beliefs are true, and this assumption guides their future perspectives on the world. The main issue is that scientists believe they know how the world works, how nature works, and natural science. Anything that can't be neatly explained by referring to these indoctrinated assumptions is beyond the grasp of this rigid belief. For instance, scientists are unable to think outside the box when they come across an anomaly and are unable to provide an explanation for it.

The scientific community is criticized by Kuhn for its resistance to change. He explains that old paradigms are resisted because doing so necessitates dissecting decades' worth of discoveries and figuring out how they all fit together. For instance, disproving one belief necessitates a reexamination of all rules based on that belief. This takes a long time and is generally undesirable.

Our scientists deny themselves the novelty of true innovation by refusing to accept anomalies and redraw boundaries. If we continue to refuse to reevaluate our research methods and procedures, we will eventually have outlived our ability to make great scientific discoveries. We constantly try to fit novelties into neatly defined boxes rather than approaching everything as a new idea. 

On the one hand, Kuhn recognizes the appeal of paradigms or rules. They enable the application of uniform guidelines across all fields of study and unite the scientific community. We believe we already know a lot of what we need to know because no one disputes the fundamentals. Students who learn from professors will be qualified to contribute to their fields. The issue lies in the fact that they are not challenging the fundamentals and are restricting their research to confirm their findings to established norms.

A single question arises if we accept that paradigms influence scientific discovery: are there any new discoveries or questions to be asked in any scientific field? Our efforts are almost pointless if we do not challenge fundamental scientific beliefs. The larger issue, which concerns how we deal with and evaluate anomalies, stems from this issue.          

Even if we do not challenge the fundamental rules, the outcomes may not always appear as expected. Because we are unable to explain it in the usual way, anything that does not fit a pre-existing theory is an anomaly. Then, we have to come up with a new rule or paradigm to explain these anomalies. The scientific community refers to this as a crisis.

Crisis presents an opportunity to reevaluate our working assumptions. However, the issue persists: we only create new paradigms, which will be questioned, resulting in a new crisis for the community. When we accept that everything we know about a paradigm may be incorrect, we experience a true scientific revolution. We can examine data and information in new ways and have the opportunity to rethink our fundamental beliefs as a result.

After that, Kuhn discusses the significance of paradigm shifts and discoveries confronting the entire world. Because they are all interconnected, the shift first affects all other scientific fields. The discovery may also have an impact on political and cultural beliefs around the world. However, in many ways, the change has no effect on the world as a whole.

This means that students may not be aware of the old theory until they read about the change, for instance, in a science textbook. They simply don't know any of it. Alternately, it may imply, in the eyes of laypeople, that it has no bearing on their lives at all and therefore has no significance. 

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions


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