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Anthroposhical paradigm is?

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  • eurythmy
    2007-02-15 Dear all Revisiting Thomas Kuhn and his paradigms, I would really appreciate some feed back on my musing on how to define Rudolf Steiner paradigm in
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 15, 2007
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      Dear all

      Revisiting Thomas Kuhn and his paradigms, I would really appreciate some feed back on my musing on how to define Rudolf Steiner paradigm in his view of the world, on what is his spiritual science funded upon.  He had wished to go on with his philosophical and literary work instead of going directly and full time to the rescue of the Theosophical attempt of disclosing the esoteric knowledge.


      I am wondering if Thomas Kuhn is an example of the economic life secreting ideologies or if his status of philosopher of sciences put him above the crowd?

      When it is described at the end of this analysis of his work that a new scientific community has to agree on new paradigm(s) are the consequences of this for Anthroposophists to ascertain their paradigms as ‘functionalist’ and ‘idealists’ based on Rudolf Steiner view of The Philosophy of Freedom where he describes a monism of thinking, or should anthroposophists go for the Rudolf Steiner idea that Anthroposophy is a continuation of the evolution theory of Darwin and that Mankind now can see each individual as a single species evolving according to reincarnation? In the later case in order not to be conflicting with the idea of monism intrinsic with The Philosophy of Freedom, the monism of the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner would need to take at heart the concept that a ‘single incarnation’ includes in two successive incarnation one of male one of female – within the reincarnation ‘lawfulness’ expressed in the artistic complementarities described at length in the karmic lectures? This also would take into account, fit, with the splitting effect into percept and concept that occurs when thinking manifest through a human physical organism describe in The Philosophy of Freedom. Further more it will also make sense of, includes in its paradigm, the new spontaneous clairvoyance that sees the consequences of one act in this incarnation, as it will happen in the next. Is not the ‘proof’ of ‘pure thinking’ the deep seated certainty that ‘here is a thought that I will remember in my next incarnation’, the certainty that this thought is from now on linked with my own individuality?

      There is a further comment after the exposition on Kuln referring to his view on sciencetific evolution and Darwinist evolution.




      « Kuhn also maintained that, contrary to popular conception, typical scientists are not objective and independent thinkers. Rather, they are conservative individuals who accept what they have been taught and apply their knowledge to solving the problems that their theories dictate. Most are, in essence, puzzle-solvers who aim to discover what they already know in advance - "The man who is striving to solve a problem defined by existing knowledge and technique is not just looking around. He knows what he wants to achieve, and he designs his instruments and directs his thoughts accordingly."

      During periods of normal science, the primary task of scientists is to bring the accepted theory and fact into closer agreement. As a consequence, scientists tend to ignore research findings that might threaten the existing paradigm and trigger the development of a new and competing paradigm. For example, Ptolemy popularized the notion that the sun revolves around the earth, and this view was defended for centuries even in the face of conflicting evidence. In the pursuit of science, Kuhn observed, "novelty emerges only with difficulty, manifested by resistance, against a background provided by expectation."

      And yet, young scientists who are not so deeply indoctrinated into accepted theories - a Newton, Lavoisier, or Einstein - can manage to sweep an old paradigm away. Such scientific revolutions come only after long periods of tradition-bound normal science, for "frameworks must be lived with and explored before they can be broken." However, crisis is always implicit in research because every problem that normal science sees as a puzzle can be seen, from another perspective, as a counterinstance and thus as a source of crisis. This is the "essential tension" in scientific research.

      Crises are triggered when scientists acknowledge the discovered counterinstance as an anomaly in fit between the existing theory and nature. All crises are resolved in one of three ways. Normal science can prove capable of handing the crisis-provoking problem, in which case all returns to "normal." Alternatively, the problem resists and is labeled, but it is perceived as resulting from the field's failure to possess the necessary tools with which to solve it, and so scientists set it aside for a future generation with more developed tools. In a few cases, a new candidate for paradigm emerges, and a battle over its acceptance ensues - these are the paradigm wars.

      Kuhn argued that a scientific revolution is a noncumulative developmental episode in which an older paradigm is replaced in whole or in part by an incompatible new one. But the new paradigm cannot build on the preceding one. Rather, it can only supplant it, for "the normal-scientific tradition that emerges from a scientific revolution is not only incompatible but actually incommensurable with that which has gone before." Revolutions close with total victory for one of the two opposing camps.

      Kuhn also took issue with Karl Popper's view of theory-testing through falsification. According to Kuhn, it is the incompleteness and imperfection of the existing data-theory fit that define the puzzles that characterize normal science. If, as Popper suggested, failure to fit were grounds for theory rejection, all theories would be rejected at all times.

      In the face of these arguments, how and why does science progress, and what is the nature of its progress? Kuhn argued that normal science progresses because members of a mature scientific community work from a single paradigm or from a closely related set and because different scientific communities seldom investigate the same problems. The result of successful creative work addressing the problems posed by the paradigm is progress. In fact, it is only during periods of normal science that progress seems both obvious and assured. Moreover, "the man who argues that philosophy has made no progress emphasizes that there are still Aristotelians, not that Aristotelianism has failed to progress."

      As to whether progress consists in science discovering ultimate truths, Kuhn observed that "we may have to relinquish the notion, explicit or implicit, that changes of paradigm carry scientists and those who learn from them closer and closer to the truth." Instead, the developmental process of science is one of evolution from primitive beginnings through successive stages that are characterized by an increasingly detailed and refined understanding of nature. Kuhn argued that this is not a process of evolution toward anything, and he questioned whether it really helps to imagine that there is one, full, objective, true account of nature. He likened his conception of the evolution of scientific ideas to Darwin's conception of the evolution of organisms.

      The Kuhnian argument that a scientific community is defined by its allegiance to a single paradigm has especially resonated throughout the multiparadigmatic (or preparadigmatic) social sciences, whose community members are often accused of paradigmatic physics envy. Kuhn suggested that questions about whether a discipline is or is not a science can be answered only when members of a scholarly community who doubt their status achieve consensus about their past and present accomplishments. »


      Franky: Rudolf Steiner comment on Darwinism and its materialist interpretation comes to mind: Rudolf Steiner goes several times like this (often after likening sport with Darwinism put to practice): we have to choose, or there is a battle, between the Darwinist materialist saying ‘the animal in me’ and the St Paul saying ‘Christ in me’. Is not this a Kuhn battle of conservatism science and revolutionary?, but now it seems that it is not a mere materialist battle in an ineluctable evolution: it is a question of freedom, at least a ‘choice’ between freedom and the lack of it.

      The split off between Platonists and Aristotelians can only acquire any meaning now if one can see that each side grew in strength, while enabling materialism to be more and more effective, autonomous, and assuming global village status, and now the rift has to be healed, or accept healing possibility, in order to grow as, to be seen as, the opposing partner of materialism.

      Well time for me to go to bed. I sincerely hope some of you will find interest in the topic.

      Kind Regards,


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