Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Structure of Scientific Revolutions


Structureof Scientific Revolutions


Whatdoes Kuhn mean by crisis in relation to scientific paradigms? Are allparadigm changes a result of crises according to kuhn? Explain

Kuhnstates that there is no change that can take place in paradigmwithout a crisis (Kuhn,1970).Kuhn postulates that during normal science, scientists do not try toconfirm the guiding concepts of their disciplinary matrix. Scientists do not also regard anomalous results as falsifying suchtheories (Kuhn,1970).Anomalies are explicated away or totally ignored because it is onlythe accretion of specific upsetting anomalies that fronts a seriousproblem for the current disciplinary matrix. These anomalies thatfall under the troublesome category have the potent to undermine thenormal practice of science (Kuhn,1970).For instance, an anomaly may reveal inadequacies is some theoriessuch that normal science will find it increasingly difficult tocontinue with confidence until the moment that such an anomaly isredressed. An anomaly that cast a doubt on the principal theory andthat leads to widespread failure in such confidence is what Kuhncalls a crisis (Kuhn,1970).

Accordingto Kuhn a paradigm performs a crucial role in that is allowsscientists to recognize some anomalous aspects and this is animperative prerequisite for discovery (Kuhn,1970). Nonetheless, the course of improving fit between fact and theory isan integral part of normal science. In this respect, an anomaly whichis described by Kuhn as a failing of expectation provides justanother problem to be addressed by the construction of improvedmodels (Kuhn,1970).Kuhn succinctly indicates that such a process is the customary farefor normal science. This gist of this statement is that an anomaly onits own is not a sufficient condition for a paradigm to change.According to Kuhn complexity can also be a precondition for a changein paradigm because it is what defines what a crisis is in normalscience (Kuhn,1970).

4.What does Kuhn mean by “anomaly?” Why does he say that, untilsomething anomalous has been assimilated by an adjustment of atheory, it “ is not quite a scientific fact at all?”

Kuhnterms an anomaly as a desecration of the “paradigm-inducedexpectation that govern normal science” (Kuhn,1970).Kuhn further state that anomalies are usually identified by the useof empirical analyses, thus making it to form the background for manyof the discoveries in the natural science that have helped improvetheories (Kuhn,1970).The detection of these anomalies offers the momentum for notableparadigm changes in a given turf of study. According to Kuhn anomalyare observed challenges reflecting the differences occurring betweenthe experimental and theoretically expected data.

Kuhnstates that … “until something anomalous has been assimilated byan adjustment of a theory,……it is not quite a scientific factat all”, meaning that discoveries begin with the awareness ofanomaly (Kuhn,1970).This also means that scientist have to recognize that nature can insome way despoiled the paradigm-induced expectation that directnormal science. The awareness of anomaly ushers a new process wherescientist conduct a thorough exploration of the area of anomaly(Kuhn,1970).The response to the anomaly will be the search for a reviseddisciplinary matrix, a process that will allow for the removal ofsome of the most pressing anomalies and provide solution to many ofthe stupendous unanswered puzzles. This ushers in what Kuhn calls arevolutionary phase where differing ideas and cogent differences thatlead to an improved paradigm.

Thefinal phase occurs when the paradigm theory has been adjusted andreadjusted so that the anomalous has become the expected.Assimilating new fact calls for more than just adjusting the theory,and until that adjustement is totally completed, such that scientistview nature in a different way, the new fact is not a scientificfact.


Kuhn,T.S. (1970).TheStructure Of Scientific Revolutions.International Encyclopedia Of Unified Science.Volume2 • Number 2. TheUniversity Of Chicago Press, Ltd., London