• Lines of Descent: Kuhn and Beyond

      Weinert, Friedel (2014-11)
      Thomas S. Kuhn is famous both for his work on the Copernican Revolution and his ‘paradigm’ view of scientific revolutions. But Kuhn later abandoned the notion of paradigm (and related notions) in favour of a more ‘evolutionary’ view of the history of science. Kuhn’s position therefore moved closer to ‘continuity’ models of scientific progress, for instance ‘chain-of-reasoning’ models, originally championed by D. Shapere. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the debate around Kuhn’s new ‘developmental’ view and to evaluate these competing models with reference to some major innovations in the history of cosmology, from Copernicanism to modern cosmology. This evaluation is made possible through some unexpected overlap between Kuhn’s earlier discontinuity model and various versions of the later continuity models. It is the thesis of this paper that the ‘chain-of-reasoning’ model accounts better for the cosmological evidence than both Kuhn’s early paradigm model and his later developmental view of the history of science.