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Normal Science and Rules

While normal science does not necessarily require a full set of rules to function (Kuhn 44), normal scientific investigation can continue without rules “only so long as the relevant scientific community accepts without question the particular problem-solutions already achieved. Rules . . . therefore become important and the characteristic unconcern about them . . . vanish[es] whenever paradigms or models are felt to be insecure” (Kuhn 47). Debates about rules frequently occur in the pre-paradigm period, but they also typically recur when reigning paradigms come under attack from suggested inadequacies and proposed changes (Kuhn 47–48). When a paradigm reigns unchallenged, however, the scientific community that it constitutes need not attempt to rationalize the paradigm (Kuhn 49). Moreover, any apparent difficulties with the paradigm that cannot be resolved are typically held to result from the inadequacy of the research conducted rather than the inadequacy of the paradigm that suggests the difficulties (Kuhn 80).


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Thomas Kuhn

Thomas Kuhn

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Associate Professor

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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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