Thomas Kuhn and Scientific Revolutions

Listen to NPR’s Science Friday segment on Thomas Kuhn and Scientific Revolutions. To do this you will need RealPlayer Basic which can be downloaded for free. If you are using the University’s computer labs, chances are that RealPlayer has already been installed; however, you must bring headphones to hear the audio.

Tips on using RealPlayer for this assignment: The “stop” button will take the segment back to the beginning automatically. The “pause” button pauses the segment at its current location. The progress bar (which runs across the player as the segment progresses) can be pulled back or pushed forward to review or advance the segment.

After listening to the entire segment (about 50 minutes), answer the following questions:

  1. Describe the relationship between paradigm, normal science, and revolutionary science.
  2. Describe a paradigm shift that has occurred in your field and explain why it should be considered as such.
  3. How might Kuhn’s philosophy challenge the notion of absolute truth and rationality in science? Why might scientists be bothered by these implications?