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The metaphor of the scientific revolution in scientists’ reflexion

Journal: The Digital Scholar: Philosopher’s Lab (Vol.1, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 138-147

Keywords : scientific revolution; philosophy of science; scientists’ reflexion; picture of the development of a discipline; mathematical community;

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This paper points to the change of Russian epistemologists' attitude to Thomas Kuhn's concept of scientific revolutions since the 1970s and poses the questions concerning the recognition of Kuhn's theory by natural scientists in Russia, as well as the impact of philosophical theories of scientific knowledge on stimulating the reflexion upon the development of science. The authors describe the image of the philosophical concepts of science in the viewpoints of the well-known physicists Vitaly L. Ginzburg and Yuri N. Efremov. Ginzburg believed that Kuhn's basic concepts (“paradigm”, “normal science” and “anomaly”) are meaningfully undefined. He denied the novelty of the main idea of the book about the change of the slow, evolutionary development of science for the periods of crisis and the sharp transition to new ideas. Advocating the ideal of a science purified from any distortions, the astronomer-observer Efremov rejects the idea of scientific revolutions and the entire Kuhn's theory in his own interpretation. The paper demonstrates the reasons for the rejection of scientific revolutions in the history of mathematics among specialists. The authors contrast the views of Russian and Anglo-American mathematicians (Yuri I. Manin, Michael J. Crowe, Herbert Mehrtens) concerning the applicability of the metaphor of the “scientific revolution” to the history of mathematics. It is noted that while in the Anglo-American scientific community there have been attempts to “try on” the idea of scientific revolutions to mathematics, Russian mathematicians, when considering the history of science, do not build their reconstructions on the metaphor of the “scientific revolution” and the idea of “competition between research programs”. To them, these concepts are inapplicable in describing the history of mathematical ideas. The authors conclude that the heuristic potential of the impact made by the above-mentioned concepts on the scientists' viewpoints depends on the discipline they belong to, and everyday scientific practices form their attitude to the image of science.

Last modified: 2020-03-01 19:17:04