Kuhn on Scientific Revolutions and Paradigm Shifts
Scientific revolutions are here taken to be those non-cumulative developmental episodes in which an older paradigm is replaced in whole or in part by an incompatible new one. Paradigms are incommensurable (no common measure—can we really do that and still talk about different models?). (g. planets)
“Suddenly the fragments in my head sorted themselves out in a new way, and fell into place together. My jaw dropped, for all at once Aristotle seemed a very good physicist indeed, but of a sort I’d never dreamed possible. Now I can understand why he had said what he’d said, and what his authority had been. Statements that previously seemed egregious mistakes, now seemed at worst near misses within a powerful and generally successful tradition.”
When paradigms enter into a debate about paradigm choice, their role is necessarily circular. Each group uses its own paradigm to argue in that paradigm’s defense. (This circularity doesn’t necessarily make the arguments wrong or ineffectual.)
There’s no such thing as paradigm independent data. Interpreting the data is paradigm specific. There is no theory-neutral data. No theory-neutral data ≠ objective knowledge. (Kuhn claimed this criticism was the result of a misunderstanding of him.) He claimed that when a scientific revolution occurs, “The world changes.” (He wanted to apply Scientific Revolutions to the contemporary science of his day but was constantly having to modify his philosophy in responding to critics.)
Anomalies: The parallax of the angles between stars and the earth every six months. The lack of difference between angles was thought to show a Ptolemaic universe; however, the Copernican view allowed for this by suggesting that the angles were insignificant to their measurements (technological limitation) because the stars were too far away. Anomalies may also simply be ignored or counted as, simply, irrelevant until they build an undercutting consensus.
The following is a guest post by Michael Muniz. Michael and I did our MA’s together. I’ve wanted to get Michael on the site for a long time and we finally got a post. I hope you enjoy it.
A little bit of who I am: I have a BA in English and Academic Certificate in Film Studies from Florida International University, and an MA in Philosophical Studies from Liberty University. My thesis was on the Philosophy of Film Narratology. I’m currently a high school teacher (my 8th year) and an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at various colleges in South Florida. I’ve written chapters for several books in the pop culture and philosophy series including: Psych and Philosophy, Jurassic Park and Philosophy, Adventure Time and Philosophy, BioShock and Philosophy, and Jim Henson and Philosophy. I’ve also spoken at many pop culture and philosophy conferences around the nation including ComicCon and Mythcon. You can follow me on Facebook at Michael Muniz, and on Twitter @zinum777, and I have an author page on amazon.com.
My newest eBook, book 2 in the series of Molinism eBooks, The Spread of Molinism, is now on sale at a reduced price for $5.99 (Normal listed price is $8.99). The sale will only be available for a week and will end on Valentine’s Day!
The aim of my first eBook on Molinism, An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and all that God has Ordered, was intended to ease in those who may be unfamiliar with the major talking points and issues concerning Molinism today. Likewise, it was intended to present Molinism accurately, avoiding misrepresentations or straw-men presentations from non-Molinists.
The Discovery Institute’s next summer seminars are from July 10-18, 2015 in Seattle. I attended the seminar in 2010. Once you’re labeled as an ID proponent your academic career is potentially slowed down or halted, unfortunately. Thankfully, I haven’t had any problems even though I’m still agnostic in many areas concerning intelligent design. I’ve gone on to become a Philosophy PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh and a I teach two classes in the philosophy of science as a tutor (academic freedom is written into my contract and have had great support from people within the university in regards to my research: fine-tuning and the ontology of many worlds scenarios). I’ve already outed myself as it’s not hard to find it in a quick Google search (I’m a philosopher so it’s not as academically persecuted).
I have no negative comments concerning the DI’s seminar. In fact, I have more respect for the institute and fellows. There were two concurrent seminars (natural and social sciences [now the CS Lewis Fellows Program]) that interacted with each other on a regular basis and combined on many occasions.
I recently did a post on the top ten books for the cultured intellectual, which has inspired me to put forth another list from film and the cinema. It would be almost impossible to survey all of the great works and pin down the top ten must see movies for the eclectic, cultural experience. I’ve considered a few factors:
Writing and Screenplay: The film must be well written and the actors and actresses nail the character they’ve adapted themselves to becoming. The better the flow and editing the better it is but no film has perfect editing.
Moral Considerations: There’s a lot of debate in the Christian sphere about the entertainment industry. Right now, the big talking point is whether Christians (mostly women) should or should not see Fifty Shades of Grey. I honestly don’t know too much about those books other than it seems to be more about some man’s erotic lifestyle and women. I’ll let those who know more debate that issue. I don’t even want to dabble in that debate. But there are other considerations. I think there are several films that are antithetical to the Christian worldview that are entertaining but also depict a story that is rich and robust in its narrative and artistic in the presentation. I don’t think there’s a rule of thumb for all to consider. I think it’s up to the individuals liberty and conviction to watch or not watch.
Diversity: This word is so abused in western society. Ugh… I’m simply referring to delimits that will be imposed. I’ll include some movies that may be action packed, some drama, some comedy, a biopic, or even some other genre. My point is to try to canvas what’s out there concerning genre, messages, reaction by viewers, etc.
My newest eBook, book 2 in the series of Molinism eBooks, The Spread of Molinism, is now available for Amazon purchase. I’m very grateful to Ken Keathley, author of Salvation and Sovereignty: A Molinist Approach, for his contribution and foreword to the eBook.
The aim of my first eBook on Molinism, An Introduction to Molinism: Scripture, Reason, and all that God has Ordered, was intended to ease in those who may be unfamiliar with the major talking points and issues concerning Molinism today. Likewise, it was intended to present Molinism accurately, avoiding misrepresentations or straw-men presentations from non-Molinists. This eBook will be a bit denser and more complicated that the previous book and this will assume that you’ve read An Introduction to Molinism and are, at least, competent in handling and understanding the topic of Molinism.
The aim of this edition in my Molinism eBooks series is to briefly recap some content from the first edition that way you’ll have a greater context for this edition, yet without being overly repetitious. Secondly, I’m going to focus on God and his relationship with creation; that is, understanding, first and foremost, perfect being theology (and deal with the pestering grounding objection—that which never goes away despite its continuous, sound refutation), then natural theology, and theology of nature. This brings us to the next section, which focuses on the theological methodology known as Scientific Theology. Having then established a proper perfect being theology hermeneutic and God’s relationship to nature, I tackle one of the prevailing scientific questions in physics and cosmology/cosmogony: many worlds (also known as the multiverse). Towards our close I discuss a few questions that are often posed to Molinists such as whether or not Molinism actually solves the problem of providence and free will by ultimately making the world deterministic since, after all, he chose which world to create. Lastly, I didn’t want to focus on a Molinist soteriology but I have devoted several pages to discuss John 6 and Romans 9 and the role of God’s “ultimate determination” and compatibilism.
I recently saw Neil deGrasse-Tyson’s list of eight books for intelligent people to read and, though they aren’t all bad, there are much more profound books. So, naturally, there will be some overlap, though probably for different reasons, as well as a variety of topics as my focus also includes being cultured.
Being a member of academia or modern intelligentsia is great but if you don’t get out of your ivory tower and aren’t knowledgable in culture, pop-culture, history, the arts, music, etc. then you’re taking up a small niche of intelligentsia.
Aside from the diversity I just alluded to, my criteria will also include the impact the works have had on society[ies] and may include overlapping books for a single author–particularly if the books are integral to the ideology or thesis being presented.
Without further ado, let the countdown begin:
10. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Part philosopher, part theologian, and part literary genius, Dostoevsky depicts the problem of evil and a world without God in a magnificent way. The book is about two brothers in Russia during the Russian depression and war and one brother is an atheist and one is a Christian. The atheist plots to kill their father while the Christian struggles to convince him that there is objective morality. This is where we get Karamazov’s theorem: ☐(~Eg ⊃ ∀ϕ~Wϕ)
To attribute nihilism to Friedrich Nietzsche’s works would be a complete misunderstanding of his teleology. Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra is a calling and desire for the übermensch to create a transvaluation of values. To categorize Nietzsche as a nihilist would be a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of his work.
When referring to nihilism there must be an understanding of all that the word entails. Nihilism refers to nothingness and is a denial of all worldviews. There are apparent problems with being consistent in rendering a nihilist understanding. Referring to everything having no meaning renders a meaning of nothingness. There is no objectivity, knowledge, truth, or virtue. There is a claim of paradigm independent referents. For the advancement of understanding Nietzsche’s teleology this self-referential incoherence must be set to the periphery. To discard Nietzsche so quickly in such a manner would be to misunderstand his teleological claims.
Nietzsche’s paradigm for truth was based on biological development. This, by all admission, was a relativistic understanding and rendition of truth; it was a social construct. This was in response to the proclamation that “God is dead.” In the fifth chapter of Twilight of the Idols Nietzsche deduces the implications of stripping God from Christianity [in reference to morality].
Subjectivism begins with personal experience. One might actually regard philosophical subjectivism as doing philosophy from the inside-out (which can eventually lead to critical-realism/non-realism). Both René Descartes (1596-1650) and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) attempted to construct philosophical systems from this starting point (although in the end both were realists). In the modern world subjectivist philosophies have become very popular as they challenge the notion of absolute Truth which allows people to democratize truths. This means truths become relative to each person. As a result, a society built on subjectivist principles is believed to be tolerant and willing to allow people to live and let live (providing they do not harm others – which, ironically, is not a subjective, and therefore relative, statement).
November 19-21 was this year’s annual Evangelical Philosophical Society’s conference. I coauthored a paper with Dave Beck of Liberty University. This is the third year in a row I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at EPS.
Abstract: Due to advances in cosmology and theoretical physics the origin of the universe is being relentlessly debated. Nevertheless, whether there is one universe or even an infinite plurality of universes, Thomas Aquinas’ argument for the existence of a first cause from contingency circumvents the debate of temporal beginnings to the universe; such as those that are embedded within the kalam cosmological argument. Tensed, tenseless, dynamic, static, endurantist, and perdurantist theories of time will be irrelevant or be peripheral at best. Physical science as a system will always require further explanation, not mere description, and that explanation will always have to appeal to something outside of itself. This is true for any philosophical and/or theological explanation of science. In this paper we will attempt a consilience of Thomas’ argument from contingency and modern cosmology to show that regardless of whether the universe had a temporal beginning, or what the nature of that beginning might have been, it would still be best explained by a first uncaused cause. We will defend Thomas’ notion of radical contingency and argue against a necessitation understanding of Thomas that is often misattributed to him. This metaphysic will be used as a plausible and defensible abductive cosmological argument, which will appeal to the radical contingency of constituents of the universe, and thus take the form of an argument to the best explanation.