Rich's Response to 1 and 3

heading level 3 Response to question #1

Kuhn’s work, first published in 1965 is an early work in the STS canon. As Kuhn points out he builds on Fleck’s work, originally published in 1935, which looked at cognition of scientific fact as social activity. (Fleck 1979) Although Kuhn doesn’t reference Robert Merton one could certainly see this as an expansion upon or perhaps counter to his exposition on normative science published in the 1942.
Merton’s work was arguably one of the first attempts to put the creation of scientific knowledge in social context. Merton’s work has been highly criticized but some of his ideas seem to resonate in Kuhn’s ideas of normal science. For example, Merton’s idea of organized skepticism and how that skepticism can lead to a change in the distribution of power within a scientific community could be seen as a precursor to Kuhn’s thought. (Merton 1942, 277-278)

Of course, Kuhn’s work is also a counter to Popper’s Logic of Scientific Discovery published originally in its first English edition in 1959. Kuhn, of course addresses his concern in the subject work (Kuhn 1996, 146-147)
Fleck, Ludwig. The Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact edited by T.J. Trenn and R.K. Merton, foreword by Thomas Kuhn Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979. (English translation)
Merton, Robert K. 1942. "The Normative Structure of Science." In The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, edited by Norman W. Storer, 267-278. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

heading level 3 Response to question 3

Kuhn tells us he believes that Darwin’s theory of natural selection was a revolution. Kuhn points out that evolution itself was not revolutionary but natural selection was because it most directly confronted the teleological basis of what existed before. (Kuhn 1996, 171-172) The nature of Darwin’s work as a “Kuhnian revolution” is not without critics.

Although Peter Bowler implies that Kuhn’s basis for describing it as a revolution because natural selection broke from teleological ties in that it described evolution with no end state in mind. (Bowler 2009, 347) The basis of this argument is that the publications of Darwin’s ideas on natural selection lead to a variety of competitive theories and did not, in his opinion lead, to a state of normal science.
I would argue that although there were many new theories to counter Darwin his work also lead to a continuing series of experiments to test the theory resulting in what Bowler refers to the synthesis. (Bowler, 325, 346) In much the way Kuhn describes normal science, geneticists, biologists, and anthropologists have experimented to test and solve the problems of the natural selection paradigm resulting in the discovery of genetic mutations caused by environmental factors, for example.

Bowler, Peter J. 2009. Evolution: The History of an Idea. 25th Anniversary Edition ed. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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