Journal Article

Ducks, Rabbits, and Normal Science: Recasting the Kuhn's-eye View of Popper's Demarcation of Science

Deborah G. Mayo

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 47, issue 2, pages 271-290
Published in print June 1996 | ISSN: 0007-0882
e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/47.2.271
Ducks, Rabbits, and Normal Science: Recasting the Kuhn's-eye View of Popper's Demarcation of Science

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Kuhn maintains that what marks the transition to a science is the ability to carry out ‘normal’ science—a practice he characterizes as abandoning the kind of testing that Popper lauds as the hallmark of science. Examining Kuhn's own contrast with Popper, I propose to recast Kuhnian normal science. Thus recast, it is seen to consist of severe and reliable tests of low-level experimental hypotheses (normal tests) and is, indeed, the place to look to demarcate science. While thereby vindicating Kuhn on demarcation, my recasting of normal science is seen to tell against Kuhn's view of revolutionary science.

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Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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