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Analytical essay topics: Analysis of 'Historical Structure of Scientific Discovery' by Kuhn
"Historical Structure of Scientific Discovery" by Thomas Kuhn is a tract in philosophy of science, in which the scholar distinguishes two types of discovery - spontaneous and methodical, and implies that these revolutionary findings which derive from an unexpected insight, are more influential. Thomas Kuhn, using the example of the discovery of oxygen, recommends that scholars and scientists pay attention to weird or strange ideas and research findings, which might turn into a new scientific revolution. The two types of discovery, described in the work, reflect two sides of science - the intuitive and the logical. The article constitutes a part of Kuhn's larger work entitled "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions".
Major thesis statements:
1) The scholar observes that the contemporary concept of discovery refers to the methodical work, done by competent specialists.
2) Kuhn assumes that the discovery of X-rays and oxygen were done spontaneously, but they are nowadays placed amongst the most significant findings.
3) Kuhn suggests that in fact even the most irrational and spontaneous ideas are well-structured and are preceded by the thorough background work, often performed by several scientists.
Primary issues to discuss.
1) Analyze the actual definition of the term "discovery", provided by Kuhn.
2) How do you understand the idea of viewing old situations in the new ways?
3) Compare the structures Priestley's and Lavoisier's studies and their findings. How are they described in Kuhn's writing?
Kuhn, T. " Historical Structure of Scientific Discovery". In Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers, edited by David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. Bedford: New York, 1987, pp. 338-349.
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