March 2nd, 2015
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.
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November 26th, 2012
This is a call for papers to be submitted to me for online publication with Sententias. I’m looking for about ten papers. Please include an abstract and Turabian format. The paper can be a minimum of 4 pages but there’s not maximal limit. I will compile the papers and put them in the first volume and issue of the Sententias Journal (Free online PDF file). This is just to kickstart more activity for Sententias to take part in. Depending on the feedback and participation we can make this a peer-reviewed process so we can have some respectable esteem. But, for now, we need to start modestly. Theists, atheists, Christians, evolutionists, and intelligent design proponents are all welcome. Here are a few suggested options:
- What’s a scientific theory?
- What’s a scientific explanation?
- Breaking down a particular interpretation of quantum physics.
- Brak down a model of cosmological origins.
- Argue for Darwinism
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June 14th, 2012
The necessitarian states that there are metaphysical connections of necessity in the world that ground and explain the most fundamental regularities. Necessitarian theorists usually use the word must to express this connection. Thus, NT maintains must-statements are not adequately captured by is-statements (must ≠ is, or certain facts are unaccounted for). Nomic necessity claims that it is difficult for mere regularity to account for certain counterfactual claims because what happens in the actual world do not themselves imply anything about what would have happened had things been different. If it is now true that Q occurs if P causally precedes Q then the necessitarian can adequately account for counterfactual claims. Given the present antecedent condition of P at tn and P implies Q at tn and it was true that P implied Q at tn-1 then using P as an antecedent for R at hypothetical tn-1’ then R is true if P was a sufficient condition R at tn-1’. Thus, there is certainty in the truth of counterfactual claims. However, counterfactuals allow for conflict between truth functional interpretation and ordinary language. For instance, any counterfactual claim with the necessary condition having a false truth-value and the sufficient condition obtaining a truth-value that is true then the counterfactual claim will be invalid.
Why is supporting counterfactual conditionals a symptom of nomic necessity? I would ague that there must be a connection or relationship between the conditions. Consider the argument, as modus ponens, that if the moon’s core is made of cheese then my desk is made from mahogany. What relationship do these two conditions have?
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May 3rd, 2012
Have you ever heard, “Well, that’s just a theory” or “a theory hasn’t been proven.” You’ll find quite a bit of this in regards to evolution–“Well, evolution is just a theory.” Objecting to a theory because it is ‘just a theory’ is a misunderstanding of what a theory really is. Please take the time to understand what a scientific theory really is.
A theory is distinct from a mere scientific explanation. Scientific explanation requires a causal explanation, which requires a law-governed explanation. Natural law describes but does not explain natural phenomena. Newton’s law of universal gravitation described, but did not explain, what caused gravitational attraction. Theories unify empirical regularities and describe the underling process that account for these phenomena. Within theories are axioms, a small set of postulates, which are not proved in the axiom system but assumed to be true.
A theory goes beyond natural laws and scientific explanations in explaining the scientific explanations. A theory refers to a body of explanatory hypotheses for which there is strong support. Theories are a conjunction of axioms (of the laws of nature) and correspondence of rules specified in a formalized ideal language.
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