By Imre & MUSGRACE, Alan Ed LAKATOS
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Extra resources for Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge
This is a logical thesis— even though it is mistaken. ^ It may be regarded as a system of theories on which we work as do masons on a cathedral. The aim is to find theories which, in the light of critical discussion, get nearer to the truth. Thus the aim is the increase of the truth-content of our theories (which, as I have shown,2 can be achieved only by increasing their content). I cannot conclude without pointing out that to me the idea of turning for enlightenment concerning the aims of science, and its possible progress, to sociology or to psychology (or, as Pearce Williams recommends, to the history of science) is surprising and disappointing.
One such expectation is, for example, part of the story of oxygen’s belated discovery. U sing a standard test for “ the goodness o f air” , both Priestley and Lavoisier m ixed two volumes o f their gas with one volume of nitric oxide, shook the mixture over water, and measured the volume o f the gaseous residue. T h e previous experience from which this standard procedure had evolved assured them that with atmospheric air the residue would be one volume and that for any other gas (or for polluted air) it would be greater.
It’s just Kuhn’s name for a set of habits, that’s all. ’ This is not correct, even about Kuhn. Besides his sociological paradigms (sense 2), he has metaphysical paradigms (sense i), and also artefact paradigms, or construct paradigms (sense 3). It is easy to show that he has at least these. But quite apart from what Kuhn, taken now as a philosopher, has actually said about paradigms, there is a deeper and more immediate reason for not being satisfied with a purely sociological sense of ‘paradigm’, which is that any definition of this is bound to be circular.
Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge by Imre & MUSGRACE, Alan Ed LAKATOS