When he was a graduate student of physics Thomas Kuhn noticed him disturbed by the question that “… how much mechanics Aristotle had known, how much he had left for people like Galileo and Newton to discover.” [See: Thomas Kuhn: “What Are Scientific Revolutions?”] This question led him to read Aristotle’s texts on physics. He especially concentrates his mind to understand what Aristotle said on motion mechanics. The reading was naturally uncomfortable for him. He was dazed to think about Aristotle’s “egregious mistakes” in this field. Kuhn, as a young science graduate, was bemused to realize how freaky Aristotle was when he scripted his comments about the changing nature of physical objects in a space-time continuum. He looked ludicrous in several points of motion mechanics, scripted his whimsical thoughts by depends on general observation without going further any pragmatic experiments, and threw his decision like an armchair philosopher.
… If we really have a desire to understand what Kuhn means when he wrote his book without having any philosophical background, we should read him with openness. Kuhn’s world indicates over again the fact which science has suffered now: —science might need the enthusiastic flexibility to reconsider even metaphysical thinking with real philosophical insight by taking Social Inter Exchange attitude in its heart.
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Armchair philosophy gained rapid progress when Socrates appeared in Athens as a notorious debater; who believed, —an inquisitive dog knows how to throw question and that dog is precious than his peer who busies himself to answer the question. Aristotle, the father of categorical thoughts, strong opposition of Socratic Method, a true antagonist of Plato’s Idealism, despite his opponency to his contemporaries, was not remote to the armchair abstraction of knowledge what Socrates and Plato have done with great potential. The problem of reading Aristotle in today’s eyes might be there; —his commentary looked frivolous when we compare it with the recent progress of knowledge, even he looked more incoherent than Pre-Socrates Natural Philosophers; those thinkers were pragmatic when they observe and think about the hidden cause of motion and change of the physical world or whatsoever.
Kuhn’s first impression of reading Aristotle’s texts was obviously similar to the others who think Aristotle’s influence over millennium misguide scientific notion and delayed real progress until Galileo peeped out from Pisa’s leaning peak to declare: —something has to be missing in Aristotle’s verdict on motion mechanics. Today we know what is that something which Aristotle missed; he made a quick judgment by ignoring the simple principle that before saying anything about how this world acts and what be the relation between change and position of physical objects…it may need a process that can legitimate the logic which he eagerly proposed in his books. Logical, Thomas Kuhn was distracted in his first impression of reading Aristotle and didn’t hesitate to mention his bewilderness, where he said:
Aristotle appeared not only ignorant of mechanics, but a dreadfully bad physical scientist as well. About motion, in particular, his writings seemed to me full of egregious errors, both of logic and of observation. [See: Thomas Kuhn: “What Are Scientific Revolutions?”]
When a reader read Aristotle’s texts along with today’s scientific notions, he is make-bound to treat him a bad scientist despite his mind-blowing contribution in the field. Anyway, if the story was ended there, history doesn’t feel any necessity to talk about Thomas Kuhn’s landslide contribution in the philosophy of science. If Kuhn quits after reading Aristotle’s “egregious errors” on physics, as other scientists usually often do, then he could not reach his profound theory on Paradigm Shift. Reading Aristotle in a different context actually helps him to interpret how the current trend of Normal Science caged the free nature of knowledge and appeared distressful for free thinkers.
… The Normal Science, from where science begins its journey, due to its methodical rigidity and radicalism lost the pure essence to make a connection with that kind of (Normal) science which can give it a space for a paradigm shift; rather, it imposed its rigidity to it. This remoteness curtailed its possibility make a fruitful connection with other knowledge disciplines or the discipline that it left to think anomalous for its own safety.
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Aristotle’s blunder actually assists him to quest the empty looking space that might create a fence between the systematic thought process of ancient and modern time, which at later helps him to draw his own Paradigm Cycle, to understand how knowledge codified itself through Model Crisis, Model Revolution and Paradigm Change, as well as how the whole process start and back again to the central point that he called Normal Science.
An embarrassing reading of Aristotle was the precious experience that energized Kuhn realize the importance of Pre-Science thinking even if going out the box of Normal Science, which is now widely accepted in the scientific community for many years. Yes, thinking on Aristotle’s “egregious error” motivates Kuhn to rethink, —there might have been space for dig out Aristotle’s thought-paradigm by taking a different thought process; —the acknowledgment of motion mechanics what we’ve achieved after Galileo and Newton, it could be considered as partial if we able to set Aristotle’s egregious thinking in a broader aspect.
Thomas Kuhn might be the first one who let him go rethink about the diction which Aristotle made once by sitting in his tablet for influencing the millennium. Kuhn’s mind incited him to think, —how such a bad physics could have legitimacy since to millennium and influenced logician with great extents? This question led him to reconsider Aristotle’s thought-paradigm by crossing the systematic approach of modern science. His journey made him controversial to his scientific colleagues. Modern physics have already invalidated what Aristotle said on motion mechanics, with an excuse that, his thoughts are anomalous for modern scientific theories and its systematic approach. Today’s scientific quest believes a theory is not valid until unless the whole part of it looks symmetrical, where one fragment of the theory must have consistency with another, and altogether they must prove the accuracy of the theory proposed by theorists.
Yonder approach motivates modern science concentrates on systematic approach and procedures; so it can exclude which it marked redundant to draw a solid conclusion for the sake of its own hypothesis. Stephen Hawking in his book consider the beauty of a scientific theory under preconditions and that is:
I. The theory must have aesthetic values and qualities.
II. It must not be reinless. The flexibility should have a limit to prevent its misuse and misinterpretation by other human sciences. A scientific theory never attuned itself with propositions and theorems which science treats incoherent for its methodical quest.
III. It must have conformity with the past, present, and future experiment in the scientific field.
IV. A fine-tuned theory should beckon the future outline with insightfulness.
Source: Picture quotes.com
… Doubt led Thomas Kuhn read Aristotle’s text with care and reconsideration. He feels pressure to rehearse Aristotle’s motion mechanics as an out of box expansion for today’s Normal Science; it is not necessary to judge Aristotle’s thoughts on motion what Galileo and Newton later mean it.
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Interprets Aristotle under Hawking’s condition make his notions simply unmethodical to get the symmetrical conclusion and hints for future advancement. Thomas Kuhn was well concerned about the risk factors of rethink Aristotle’s through different integration. His inner feeling excites him to dig Aristotle and he was prepared to read this Greekman by going against the acclaimed procedures, in which ways today’s Normal Science articulated when it deals any scientific proposal and solidifies it for a better conclusion. The question is, why Kuhn inflamed him for doing such a job? He answered this question in his article with a bit nostalgic tune:
Feeling that way, I continued to puzzle over the text, and my suspicions ultimately proved well-founded. I was sitting at my desk with the text of Aristotle’s Physics open in front of me and with a four-colored pencil in my hand. Looking up, I gazed abstractedly out the window of my room —the visual image is one I still retain. Suddenly the fragments in my head sorted themselves out in a new way, and fell into place together. My jaw dropped, for all at once Aristotle seemed a very good physicist indeed, but of a sort I’d never dreamed possible. Now I could understand why he had said what he’d said, and what his authority had been. Statements that had previously seemed egregious mistakes, now seemed at worst near misses within a powerful and generally successful tradition. [See: Thomas Kuhn: “What Are Scientific Revolutions?”]
Such inquisitive comparison between the thought process of Aristotle’s era and the late scientific thinking of Galileo and Newton’s era, the difference amid space and time gave Thomas Kuhn a flashing moment, and he came to the decision that it must be a misreading of Aristotle when we read and judge his thought paradigm in light of today’s Normal Science and its hypothetical conditions. Today’s zeitgeist provoked our mind to read Aristotle’s motion mechanics by remembering what progress have made at later in this field, where we first stuck on Newton and then read Aristotle’s texts under preconditions which modern science now prescribed to us; since yonder advancement already proved Aristotle’s thoughts are wrong for science. However, the reverse could be equally true if we consider Aristotelian zeitgeist with enough care, and that is, at that time he might mean the essence of motion of physical objects in a different contextual, not like as we mean it today. Kuhn tried to clear his stance in his controversial book “The structure of scientific revolution” and in his article as well, where he clarified his doubt to say:
“… I asked myself. Perhaps his words had not always meant to him and his contemporaries quite what they meant to me and mine.” [See: Thomas Kuhn: “What Are Scientific Revolutions?”]
Doubt led Thomas Kuhn read Aristotle’s text with care and reconsideration. He feels pressure to rehearse Aristotle’s motion mechanics as an out of box expansion for today’s Normal Science; it is not necessary to judge Aristotle’s thoughts on motion what Galileo and Newton later mean it. Galileo tried to understand the motion of objects according to the variance of pace when an object falls down to the ground. Newton theorized his laws of motion regarding the changing position of objects. They were profound in their scientific observation and meditation. No doubt, Aristotle is wrong when we consider his motion theorem stand beside on Newton’s principle and try to understand his motion mechanics according to the changing position of objects and its impact on their movements. However, what was the central point for Galileo and Newton, it might be a mere sub-category in Aristotle’s thought paradigm. Motion served in general purpose in his logical interpretation; it is not what Newton deals when he interprets the reason that why physical objects need external force so that the static or dynamic position of objects can change their position through mass acceleration. Kuhn mentioned:
When the term “motion” occurs in Aristotelian physics, it refers to change in general, not just to the change of position of a physical body. Change of position, the exclusive subject of mechanics for Galileo and Newton, is one of a number of subcategories of motion for Aristotle. [See: Thomas Kuhn: “What Are Scientific Revolutions?”]
… Thomas Kuhn proposed an outer space for such type trashy proposal or hypothesis. We see he set Pre-Science elements in his famous Paradigm Shift cycle. This element stayed out of the Normal Science cycle which he draws for the reader’s attention. Pre-Science stayed out of the cycle in his diagram and it stayed there as an opportunity for further rethinking and reconsideration.
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Newton’s theory treat physical position of objects a primary category, it helped him to understand how this physical world moves and interacts consequently with motion mechanics. Positional state of objects or whatever it is, in his definition of motion mechanics, Aristotle codified them a “quality of physical objects”. He defines position a substance for the objects, where qualitative change-shift forced them (objects) to transfer their position from one state to another state. Suppose Oak seeds are the primary position for Oak-trees. The sprouting quality of Oak-seeds transacted them to the motion so that mature Oak-trees can grow and appear. The motion of Oak-trees actually depends on the motion of Oak-seeds; likewise, sickness has a changing motion to good health and the reverse as well. The moral is clear, —when Aristotle talked about motion mechanics, he talks the in-general essence that keeps the world dynamic through its qualitative change-shift. Kuhn pictured Aristotle’s discourse of motion to say:
… position is thus, like wetness or hotness, a quality of the object, one that changes as the object moves or is moved. Local motion (motion tout court in Newton’s sense) is therefore change-of-quality or change-of-state for Aristotle, rather than being itself a state as it is for Newton. [See: Thomas Kuhn: “What Are Scientific Revolutions?”]
The new reading of Aristotle influenced Thomas Kuhn to rethink about the systematic approaches of modern science. It drives him to think about the narrow-line from where science detached itself to think or reconsider other knowledge disciplines with positive postures. Modern methodical approaches where any part of thought if appeared anomalous or mismatched with observation and experiment, the science community instant leave this thought, and without giving a chance that we should reconsider our thought by taking a new approach to it. This rigidity as Karl Popper thinks inevitable for science if it wants to ground its theory with a pragmatic dataset and plausible logical sequences. However, Kuhn’s designed his thought in reverse. He believes such stereotype approach make science non-realistic and it might be a practical loss for science itself.
Source: Wikipedia: Karl Popper in 1980
… This rigidity as Karl Popper thinks inevitable for science if it wants to ground its theory with a pragmatic dataset and plausible logical sequences. However, Kuhn’s designed his thought in reverse. He believes such stereotype approach make science non-realistic and it might be a practical loss for science itself.
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This approach led Kuhn to explain his position as a knowledge-seeker of scientific truth and he motivates him to make his groundbreaking statement on Paradigm Shifting of knowledge by following the Shared Rule process. Kuhn believes error-and-trial process doesn’t need to follow the prescribed proforma for its purity, as the scientific community always thinks; rather an open-minded approach to reconsider the most absurd proposition could be work if we deal it carefully; if we flexible to the fact that which look absurd and dysfunctional in Normal Science’s methodical approaches, that may appear to be rational if we consider the proposal pulled out our mind from the border of Normal Science, which we’ve developed in the last few centuries. Thomas Kuhn proposed an outer space for such type trashy proposal or hypothesis. We see he set Pre-Science elements in his famous Paradigm Shift cycle. This element stayed out of the Normal Science cycle which he draws for the reader’s attention. Pre-Science stayed out of the cycle in his diagram and it stayed there as an opportunity for further rethinking and reconsideration.
In which way Newton discover the laws of motion, it follows the established path of Paradigm Shift cycle and revolutionary changes happened accordingly; however, it doesn’t invalidate Aristotle’s thoughts on motion if we placed it as Pre-Science for reconsideration, to examine its overallity that maybe it talks on something that Newton didn’t mention in his theory. This way Kuhn justified Aristotle’s physics logical and rational even in today, said clearly:
Normal science is a highly determined activity, but it need not be entirely determined by rules. That is why, at the start of this essay, I introduced shared paradigms rather than shared rules, assumptions, and points of view as the source of coherence for normal research traditions. Rules, I suggest, derive from paradigms, but paradigms can guide research even in the absence of rules.
… paradigms could determine normal science without the intervention of discoverable rules. [See: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn]
Karl Popper’s approach means a single anomaly in the scientific procedural might enough to destroy the whole construction of it. Thomas Kuhn strongly stands against Popper’s rigid radicalism. His reconsideration of Aristotle’s “Motion” perhaps helped him to rethink about the scientific paradigm with openness. The Normal Science, from where science begins its journey, due to its methodical rigidity and radicalism lost the pure essence to make a connection with that kind of (Normal) science which can give it a space for a paradigm shift; rather, it imposed its rigidity to it. This remoteness curtailed its possibility make a fruitful connection with other knowledge disciplines or the discipline that it left to think anomalous for its own safety.
… Aristotle’s blunder actually assists him to quest the empty looking space that might create a fence between the systematic thought process of ancient and modern time, which at later helps him to draw his own Paradigm Cycle, to understand how knowledge codified itself through Model Crisis, Model Revolution and Paradigm Change, as well as how the whole process start and back again to the central point that he called Normal Science.
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Yonder realization led Kuhn to write his groundbreaking book “Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, was very controversial but ground shaking for them who is yet afraid and have accustomed to think this philosophical approach a threat for modern scientific queries. Thomas Kuhn is clear to his proposition, —if we want science will help us to march forward necessity is there to make its own leap first, from where it can reconsider all other (even abandoned) thoughts in light of openness. Kuhn named it “Social Sharing of Knowledge”; which he believed exist in every possible state and community from the remote past to today. If we really have a desire to understand what Kuhn means when he wrote his book without having any philosophical background, we should read him with openness. Kuhn’s world indicates over again the fact which science has suffered now: —science might need the enthusiastic flexibility to reconsider even metaphysical thinking with real philosophical insight by taking Social Inter Exchange attitude in its heart.
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