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“Normal” Science

Within a given, normal-scientific tradition, the reigning paradigm directs research by suggesting which experiments and data are relevant to resolving a given problem and which are irrelevant (Kuhn 18, 24, 34). The paradigm also guides new and more specific theory articulation, and the paradigm permits practitioners in a given field to dispense with rearticulating the field’s foundations in each new work they produce (Kuhn 18–20, 23, 34). Thus, a paradigm entails promises about problems that it will resolve and new achievements that it will enable, and normal science, the process in which most scientists work for most of their careers, demonstrates how these promises actually operate (Kuhn 23–24, 30, 35–42). In all cases, however, the paradigm of a given, normal-scientific tradition definitively determines the research that is performed within that paradigm—“to desert the paradigm is to cease practicing the science it defines” (Kuhn 34, 46). Yet, a paradigm is susceptible to various articulations as long as these diversions self-confessedly work from and toward what the paradigm’s community considers to be sufficient common ground (Kuhn 46–47, 73; cf. Hung 62–70; see also Carson 88–89).

In this post:

D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson

Thomas Kuhn

Thomas Kuhn

Beyond Kuhn

Edwin Hung

About David Stark

Associate Professor


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Creative Commons License
This site and its content are licensed by J. David Stark under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. The views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person(s) or institution(s).
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