What is Paradigm Shift?June 28, 2021
American physicist and historian Thomas Kuhn is best known for his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
The book is both a description of turning points in the history of science and an attempt to introduce a theory of how revolutions in science came about.
In Kuhn’s view, science oscillates between periods of “normal science” and periods of “crisis”. Normal science is the routine process by which scientists working within a theoretical framework—or paradigm—collect results in such a way that the theoretical support of their framework is beyond doubt. Of course, sometimes abnormal or unfamiliar results are encountered, but these are generally considered errors on the side of scientists. The proof of this, according to Kuhn, is that normal science does not aim for innovations. However, abnormal results can accumulate over time to reach the crisis point. If a new theory is developed following the crisis, there is a shift in the paradigm and the new theoretical framework replaces the old one. Eventually this framework comes naturally and normal science begins again, until anomalies occur again in the future. An example of this kind of shift is the disintegration of the classical concept of time and space after Einstein’s theory of relativity was confirmed.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook