Scott J. Simon / p. 4
you get & still have a revolution? Kuhn does not answer. And, are scientific revolutions
irreversible: many examples suggest otherwise: Newtonian & Liebnitzian calculus, A.A.
Robinson’s non-standard Analysis, Lamarckianism and the inheritance of acquired
characteristics, and Joshua Letterberg’s later rejection of Lamarckianism. All his suggests a logic
of counter-factuals (or what ifs) that Kuhn’s Paradigm theory seems ill equipped to address. And
finally, where do new “ideas” come from? Is it not “an irrational intuition”; can computer
investigation tell us? Kuhn’s probable guesses seem closer to the metaphysical web spinning of
the German idealists than to any post-positivist theory of science.
Perhaps more than Popper and Kuhn, it is Heisenberg’s principle that most damaged the
absolutist anti-metaphysics of positivism: the exact position and exact velocity of a particle
cannot be determined simultaneously. (x = position, p = velocity, h = magnitude); in addition, an
exact determination of energy and time cannot be determined simultaneously for a particle. What
this suggests is that we live in an indeterminate universe and that there is an “observer effect”
that disturbs any system under study…and absolute objectivity like that espoused by positivism
is a myth.
The many problems of positivism and falsificationism are the result of an “epistemological
mount Parnassus”; a fallacious Cartesian modern philosophical and metaphysical standpoint
according to Alfred North Whitehead; Whitehead suggests a mini-paradigm shift that leads us
away from Cartesian duality toward a Platonic metaphysics; a new theory of perception that
offers a way out of Cartesian subjectivity. Whitehead dubbed this Process philosophy, whose
historical roots reach back to Heraclitus the Poet, Anaxagoras the Chemist, and coalesces with
the German Idealists, Goethe, Schilling, Emerson, Dewey.