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Kuhn vs Popper - About James H. Collier

Kuhn vs Popper - About James H. Collier

the second half of the

the second half of the 20th century: TalcottParsons’ structural-functionalist sociology, StephenJay Gould’s punctuated equilibrium theory oforganic change, and of course, Kuhn’s theory ofscientific change.84

. CHAPTER 8 .SO, WHY ARE PHILOSOPHERSOF SCIENCE PRO-SCIENCE?Given their penchant for being on the wrong side ofhistory, why have philosophers of science beenso keen to present themselves and their history aspro-science? Under the circumstances, one mightreasonably expect that theirs would be a historyof resentment, perhaps of genius spurned or suppressed.Yet, if anything, philosophers of sciencenowadays are much more explicitly philosophersfor science than they used to be. They no longerdefend, as Popper did, an ideal conception ofscience that would call into question much of whatscientists normally do. Instead, philosophers relateto practising scientists as underlabourers, a termJohn Locke coined to characterise his own relationshipto his friend Isaac Newton, the scientific‘master builder’. As underlabourer, Locke’s job wasto clear the rubbish in the way of the masterbuilder’s work. By analogy, the philosopher ofscience would clarify the conceptual foundations ofthe dominant scientific paradigms and defendthem from attack. In terms of Plato’s Republic,85

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