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Kuhn vs Popper - About James H. Collier

Kuhn vs Popper - About James H. Collier

In contrast,

In contrast, Popper struggled throughout hiscareer against the crypto-Darwinist tendency toturn risking an idea into risking one’s life. No lessthan our sense of humanity hung in the balance.Popper tried to make good on the German idealistslogan that we rise above the animals whenpursuing the life of the mind, for only then do ourideas truly die in our stead. While Popper grantedthat revolutionaries like Galileo and Einstein weremore the exception than the rule in the history ofscience, he interpreted what Kuhn benignly called‘normal science’ as a moral failure, not a successfuladaptation strategy.Unfortunately, 40 years later, Kuhn seems tohave had the last laugh. The story of Structure’sreception in the philosophical community hasbeen a tale of two halves, which together provide astriking confirmation of the Planck Effect. The firsttwenty years consisted of an array of negativeresponses, ranging from Popperian high dudgeonto more pedantic charges of ambiguity andinconsistency. In the last twenty years, however, anew generation has come to dominate the history,philosophy and sociology of science. They takeStructure as the unproblematic foundation for itsinquiries – as if the original criticisms had neverbeen made. Certainly Kuhn never answered thecriticisms, and the current generation of science40

studies practitioners is sufficiently beholden toStructure not to want to answer them. One thingmust be said in Kuhn’s behalf: he succeededaccording to the terms set out by his own theory.41

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