Aarhus Universitets segl

New paper by Schindler on Normal Science

forthcoming in Synthese

Normal Science: not uncritical or dogmatic


When Kuhn first published his Structure of Scientific Revolutions he was accused of promoting an “irrationalist” account of science. Although it has since been argued that this charge is unfair in one aspect or another, the early criticism still exerts an influence on our understanding of Kuhn. In particular, normal science is often characterized as dogmatic and uncritical, even by commentators sympathetic to Kuhn. I argue not only that there is no textual evidence for this view but also that normal science is much better understood as being based on epistemically justified commitment to a paradigm and as pragmatic in its handling of anomalies. I also argue that normal science is an example of what I call Kuhn’s program of revisionary rational reconstruction.