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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 57, Issue 1, 2020

Ilya T. Kasavin, Vladimir N. Porus
Pages 6-19

Turning Back to Kuhn
Is Normal Science Conservative?

The article examines the problem of interpreting normal and revolutionary science in the concept of Thomas Kuhn. It is shown that the “normal science” is the central concept of the Kuhn’s history of science, designed in accordance with the normative definition of science adopted by him. Such a story serves an internal purpose – to justify the special epistemical status of expert knowledge. But there is also an external goal – to establish professional science as an institution with special epistemological status and social function, which is situated in a center of intellectual power and property. Historians are those who are forced to constantly rewrite history – either following the methodology of “rational reconstruction” or responding to the challenges of their time. To be a “conservative” or a “revolutionary” in the history of science is a choice made not only for philosophical reasons, but also under the influence of the general socio-cultural situation of the epoch.

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