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Scott J. Simon / p. 3

Popper’s critique of inductivism concludes with Falsificationism: unlike the verificationist

criteria of meaning, falsificationism seeks to disprove hypotheses and delimit knowledge, not

discover it. As such, a dichotomy formed between Popper and the Positivists: strict falsification

vs. weak verification. Popper adhered to the principle of demarcation and a fallibilist approach to

science, in which the psychology of creativity was acceptable. Thus Popper’s views are

ultimately more radical and more metaphysical than the positivists.

In addition to Popper, Thomas Kuhn was also an influential philosopher of science who was

critical of the anti-metaphysics of positivism. As Kuhn states it, “we may…have to relinquish the

notion…that changes of paradigm carry scientists closer and closer to the truth.” Such a

statement is blasphemy to any positivist zealot and calls into question the very goal that

positivists claimed science was there to pursue. Kuhn argued that science could be understood

with the notion of the Paradigm (belief system). A Paradigm shift is crisis between paradigms

that occurs when previous theoretical constructs are no longer able to withstand the competition

of newer, more viable theories. Thus, an evolutionary model of science is maintained, in which

the “fittest” paradigm survives. As such, science is an instrument for solving problems, not for

discovering truth. Thomas Kuhn’s Paradigm theory of science is definitively stated in The

Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962).

On closer inspection, Kuhn’s paradigm theory has problem of its own: for one, the

“absoluteness” of the history/sociology/psychology of science: no paradigm is necessary here,

thus Kuhn excludes his own “meta-historical” insight from his theoretical findings. In addition, it

appears that some revolutions are more revolutionary than others; for example, Einstein’s

relativity theory vs. quantum physics vs. Maxwell’s thermodynamics. Also, there appear to be

subrevolutions in science as well, for example McClintock’s molecular biology. How “sub” can

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