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Exemplars of Doyletics and Kant on Wheels  Bobby Matherne
 Aug 05, 2001 08:16 PDT 
Dear Friends,

In the July 19 issue of London Review of Books, Peter Lipton did a fine
review of "The Road since Structure" by Thomas Kuhn which contains his
philosophical essays from 1970 to 1993. It was 1962 when Kuhn wrote his
masterwork, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and in 1970 when he
added significantly to it with a Second Edition. I encourage and exhort
each of you to read this fine book which is still available from University
of Chicago Press or via second-hand copies on the internet at
http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abe/BookSearch where I found 135 copies for
sale beginning at $2.50.

The subject of Kuhn's life's work affects the science of doyletics because
it explains the resistance of establishment scientists to new ideas: they
don't fit inside their paradigms. Also the "world changes" when a new
paradigm like doyletics is accepted and this is anathema to scientists
whose job, AS THEY UNDERSTAND IT, is to examine the world as it is, not
change it. That is their job, up until now.

What are the exemplars of current science that prevent the ready acceptance
of doyletics, indeed, fosters vehement rejection of it at times, up until
now? [read below what an exemplar is -- Lipton describes it well]

Here's my view of the current exemplars:

1) Basic emotions -- the notion that everyone has the same basic set of
emotions.

2) These basic emotions are produced in real-time by our body's reaction to
current situations.

3) Any fears, emotions, etc, that are acquired by experience in addition to
the basic emotions can be acquired at any age.

Anything that you tell people about doyletics will be filtered through
those exemplars and like message filters on our emails, very little of
importance will get through to them for the very good reason that their
message filters have rejected the message! Why? Because the science of
doyletics, even in its neo-natal state of 2001, overturns, puts the lie to,
refutes, upsets, defenestrates, and completely annihilates every one of
those exemplars.

Here are the primary exemplars of doyletics:

1) There are NO basic emotions -- there seems to be basic emotions
because of a community of similar socializing activities that we
experience up to the age of five during which time our idiosyncratic
emotional states are acquired.

2) Emotions are TRIGGERED by real-time stimuli from the current situation,
but the emotions are re-created on the spot from our pre-five-year-old
memory storage, ie, doylic memory.

3) NO NEW doyles are created after the age of five. New contexts of
activation of fears and emotions may occur, but no novel doyles, the very
substrate of fears and emotions, are stored after five.

With that prologue, read for yourself what Lipton has to say about Kuhn's
work on exemplars and scientific revolutions. Rightly understood, you are
in on the beginning of a revolution in the science of psychology
and physiology as great as the one that Gregor Mendel fostered over a
century ago with his experiments on smooth and wrinkled peas that led to
the phenomenal breakthroughs in genetic engineering we are now
experiencing. Many of you know that Mendel's work was ignored by scientists
of his day for over thirty years, and when the field of genetics was named,
it was NOT named after the innovator, Mendel, or it might have been called
mendeletics, for example. In naming doyletics, I wanted to ensure that
mistake would not occur a second time to Doyle Henderson.

[["Kant on Wheels" by Peter Lipton
from the London Review of Books, 19 July 2001
The Road Since Structure: Philosophical Essays, 1970-93 by Thomas Kuhn,
2000


At a New York cocktail party shortly after the war, a young and insecure
physics postgraduate was heard to blurt out to a woman he had met there: I
just want to know what Truth is!' This was Thomas Kuhn and what he meant
was that specific truths such as those of physics mattered less to him than
acquiring metaphysical knowledge of the nature of truth. Soon afterwards,
he gave up physics, but rather than take up philosophy directly, he
approached it by way of the history of science. The work that followed,
especially The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, published in 1962 and
now with sales of well over a million copies, makes his the most important
contribution to the history and philosophy of science of the 20th century.
Kuhn was struck by the consensus among those working in particular
disciplines during periods of what he came to call 'normal science'. It
isn't just that they accept the same theories and data, they also have a
shared conception of how to proceed in their research, a tacit agreement
about where to look next. There is agreement about which new problems to
tackle, what techniques to try and what count as good solutions. It is
rather as if new practitioners in a particular discipline are covertly
given copies of a book of rules, the secret guide to research in their
field. But no such rulebooks exist. Kuhn wanted to find out what does the
job of the rules that aren't there.
What he found was that scientists learn to proceed by example rather than
by rule. They are guided by what Kuhn called their exemplars, or certain
shared solutions to problems in their specialty, like the problem sets
that science students are expected to work through. ('Exemplar' captures
the most important sense of Kuhn's famous multivalent term, 'paradigm'.)
The function of problem sets is not to test students' knowledge but to
engender it. Similarly, exemplars guide research scientists in their work,
for although, unlike rules, they are specific in content, they are general
in their import. Scientists will choose new problems " that seem similar to
the exemplary ones, will deploy techniques similar to those that worked in
the exemplars, and will judge their success by the standards the exemplars
exemplify.
This idea of the co-ordinating and creative power of exemplars provided
Kuhn with the basis for his general model of how sciences develop. Any new
area of scientific inquiry must do without exemplars to start with and
hence without the co-ordination of normal science. If suitable exemplars
are eventually found, normal science can proceed. But exemplars sow the
seeds of their own destruction, since they will eventually suggest problems
that are not soluble by the exemplary techniques. This leads to a state of
crisis and in some cases to a scientific revolution, where new exemplars
replace the old ones and another period of normal science
begins.              A scientific revolution is more disruptive than a
simple replacement of one theory by a better one, because the theories held
on either side of it are not just incompatible, they are 'incommensurable'.
In Structure, Kuhn used that term to refer to various factors that make the
evaluation of competing theories problematic. Scientific revolutions are
not irrational episodes, they are stages of enquiry where rationality
becomes a much more complex and messy business than during periods of
normal science. This is so in part because straight" forward argument
requires many shared premises, which are what normal scientists enjoy and
revolutionary scientists lack.
This brings us back to the New York cocktail party. What truth is not,
according to Kuhn, is an accurate representation of the world as it is in
itself. Scientific theories represent a world, but one partially
constituted by the cognitive activities of the scientists themselves. This
is not a commonsensical view, but it has a distinguished philosophical
pedigree, associated most strongly with Kant. The Kantian view is that the
truths we can know are truths about a 'phenomenal' world that is the joint
product of the 'things in themselves' and the organising, conceptual
activity of the human mind.
Kuhn, however, is Kant on wheels. Where Kant held that the human
contribution to the phenomenal world is invariant, Kuhn's view is that it
changes fundamentally across a scientific revolution. This is what he means
by his notorious statement that, after a scientific revolution, 'the world
changes'. This is neither the trivial claim that scientists' beliefs about
the world change, nor the crazy claim that scientists can change the things
in themselves simply by changing their beliefs. It is the claim that the
phenomenal world changes because the human contribution to it changes.
For Kuhn, scientific development is neither cumulative nor teleological:
science is not moving towards the goal of a theory of everything. His
favoured analogy is with biological evolution by natural selection.
Organisms develop under selective pressures from the environment, but
development, though tending to an increase in complexity and
differentiation, has no fixed goal. Moreover, the selective environments
that determine which organisms survive and which die off themselves change
and are partially constituted by the organisms' own activities. Biological
evolution is not moving towards an ideal organism, and scientific evolution
is not moving towards the Truth. Both processes are pushed from behind, not
pulled from the front.
Kuhn's work makes a signal contribution to our understanding of how
science works and what it achieves. Scientists may be good at running
science, but nobody understands very well how it works. Our best models of
how they test their theories have absurd consequences - the idea, for
example, that every observation is evidence for every theory - and our
accounts of where those theories come from in the first place are inchoate
at best. The possibilities Kuhn articulates and the arguments he makes are
a crucial resource for improving our feeble understanding.
Much of what he says about the power of exemplars to direct and shape
scientific research is fundamentally right. Scientists' problems and their
solutions do not come out of thin air, but there are no rules known to
scientists or philosophers that can explain their source. Exemplars and the
similarity relations they impose are the only plausible alternative.
Scientists learn primarily by example, and imitation and analogy are
essential motors of research.
What I resist in Kuhn's account is the
move from the exemplar model to the notion of scientific revolutions
involving a radical change of worlds, when it in fact appears compatible
with the more traditional view that science, though fallible, is
nevertheless in the truth business, telling us an increasing amount about a
mind-independent world. The reasons Kuhn gives do not seem powerful enough
to establish his dramatic alternative view.
In addition to Structure, Kuhn did research of the first importance on
particular aspects of the history of science, with a book on the Copernican
Revolution in astronomy and another on the development of Quantum
Mechanics. He also developed and modified his views on the nature of
science in a series of articles. A first collection of these was published
in 1977 under the title The Essential Tension, and now The Road since
Structure is a second.    
It's sometimes claimed that Kuhn toned down his radical views after
Structure, but this is a mistake. He did occasionally repudiate earlier
ideas, but the bulk of his later work is a significant articulation and
defence of his fundamental views, not a retraction. For example, he extends
his Darwinian analogy, to describe a process resembling to biological
speciation whereby both old and new scientific traditions may survive, as
an alternative to the model of simple replacement through revolution. He
also develops his account of the social dynamics of scientific communities,
focusing especially on the way in which a period of scientific crisis may
serve to spread cognitive risk, with different scientists following
different avenues of inquiry.      
In his later work, Kuhn also narrows and deepens his notion of
incommensurability. To say that two theories are incommensurable comes to
mean that there is no scientific language which can fully express both:
incommensurability is untranslatability. Theories on either side of a
revolution divide up the world in systematically different ways, so that
while it may be possible to become 'bilingual', the meanings of the
incommensurable sentences resist principled translation into a common
language. Kuhn makes clear that this does not involve any irrationality, he
is simply trying to show how complex the rationality of scientific inquiry
may become during periods of radical change.
The Road since Structure ends with a fascinating 68-page interview with
Kuhn, recorded a year before his death. This gives a strong sense of his
personality and of the development of his ideas and career. It brings out
the extent to which the history of science was for him from the start . a
vehicle for philosophical inquiry. It also reveals how much Kuhn relied on
what he took to be his exceptional talent for getting inside the heads of
past scientists, to see their projects and their worlds in their terms.

[Note: rest of Lipton's review talks about Steve Fuller's not so
complimentary book about Kuhn.]
]]






--
^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~~The Beat goes on~~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^
Necessity and Freedom at http://www.doyletics.com/arj/nafrvw.htm
Bobby Matherne New Orleans, Louisiana
	
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