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Posts Tagged ‘mach’

Mach

In mach on 16/07/2011 at 1:28 pm

The historical investigation of the development of a science is most needful, lest the principles treasured up in it become a system of half-understood prescripts, or worse, a system of prejudices. Historical investigation not only promotes the understanding of what which now is, but also brings new possibilities before us, by showing that which exists to be in great measure conventional and accidental. From the higher point of view at which different paths of thought converge we may look about us with freer vision and discover routes before unknown. (Mach, Ernst. 1960. The Science of Mechanics: A critical and historical account of its development. La Salle (Illinois): Open Court.)

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Kuhn’s Dogmatism

In kuhn on 23/06/2011 at 1:00 pm

Kuhn does not give a logic to scientific discovery. Rather, he opens the door to the sociology of science, of a collaborative/competitive game that emerges out of the interaction of fallible and petty people.

Therefore, we have to make a choice. We can either work on puzzles or we can work on problems; we can either close our ears to criticism or we can accept criticism; we can be uncritical of our ideas or we can be critical of our ideas.

In each of these cases, we must ask, Which choices should I make? Do I want to solve the serious problems that keep me up at night? Do I want to stick my neck out and conjecture something new (even if it is false) about the world? Do I want to reject the ideas I hold dear that cannot survive criticism?

I would consider these questions to be part of the logic of scientific discovery. If scientists provide affirmative answers, this would lead to an environment that mirrors a free and open society. If scientists provide negative answers, this would lead to an environment that Kuhn describes: a dogmatic, puzzle-solving, kibitzing society.

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