X hits on this document





4 / 7

in turn a multiplicity of versions that are dissatisfying5. The qualities that previously made the

paradigm favored no longer bear currency. During this time, the novel idea continues to be

refined, gaining adherents and attracting the attention of more and more scientists from the

existing paradigm. The novel idea soon begins to offer cogent explanations for both old and new

phenomena. In contrast, the inability of the existing paradigm, in any of its forms, to confront the

problem marks a true ‘crisis’ in its status. This concept is critical because Kuhn posits that an

existing paradigm, however fractured it might be, will not be rejected until a viable alternative

exists.6 When the novel idea reaches this point, it replaces the existing paradigm and a ‘scientific

revolution’ is said to have occurred. Sometimes, though seldom, such as with Copernican

revolution7, the novel idea emerges very early on, before the existing paradigm is demonstrated

to be significantly lacking.

Kuhn emphasizes that paradigms are not easily or often overturned, particularly broad

ones such as Newtonian dynamics or Darwinian evolution. Furthermore, what some narrow

discipline might consider a paradigm shift may be inconsequential to another discipline. Overall,

the endeavor of normal science has proven extraordinarily effective for scientific progress.

Despite this, mainstream reporting of the science tends to be overly sympathetic to theories that

purportedly threaten (hyped by the media) to upend fundamental paradigms. Such accounts can,

however, feature elements of the Kuhnian model. An August 2006 issue of Discover magazine

features an article by Adam Frank titled ‘Gravity’s Gadfly’, which discusses a novel approach to

arguably the most perplexing cosmological phenomena facing the astrophysics community. The

problem is that observations about the growth and structure of the universe and the motions of

galaxies are not consistent with our current understanding of gravity. Scientists have not seen


Kuhn, 68-69


Kuhn, pgs. 66, 77, 79


Kuhn, pg. 75

Document info
Document views27
Page views27
Page last viewedSat Jan 21 21:39:45 UTC 2017