Beyond our Kuhnian inheritance
August 28, 2012
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Rebekah Higgit reflects for The Guardian on a Greg Radick (Leeds) lecture entitled “Scientific Inheritance”. Video of the hour-long lecture is also available.
Radick explains that the influence of Structure was not just the overuse of the term paradigm shift, but “what we sometimes call the historical turn” in our field, “which is to say that after the publication of the book it become possible to see new ways in which history matters for the sciences”. However, the rest of his lecture is devoted to highlighting “three of the most exciting ways in which the field has gone beyond Kuhn” on this front.
1) …scientists only rarely take a serious interest in the history of science.
2) …while Kuhn encouraged the asking of counterfactuals, he discouraged the answering of them with regard to the possibility of alternative paradigms.
3) …[Kuhn’s] decision to avoid all discussion of “technological advance or of external social, economic and intellectual conditions in the development of the sciences”