The structure of scientific revolution

The Copernican revolution is the most prolific example of Kuhns theory of scientific revolution. In this theory, cycles and epicycles are used for replicating planetary movements in space that had a stationary Earth at its centre. Gradually, the precision of the celestial observations improved, the intricacy of the Ptolemaic cyclical and epicyclical systems had to increase systematically with the augmented precision of the observations so as to preserve the designed planetary positions near the observed positions. Copernicus suggested a cosmology whereby the Sun became the centre and the Earth became one of the planets circling around it. In representing the planetary motions, Copernicus employed the tools he was acquainted with, i.e., cycles and epicycles that already existed in the Ptolemaic theory.

Kuhn further reinforces the concept of paradigm shifts through Galileos theories of motion. When an object is set in motion, it rapidly becomes stops. For example when a cart is set in motion, it travels for a distance before stopping, unless it is pushed continuously. Aristotle had already proposed that this was a natural philosophy. To sustain the motion of an object, it must be pushed and this represented rational argument at the time.  Galileo proposed audacious alternatives vis--vis imagining that we always observed objects becoming to a standstill because of friction. Galileo never possessed sound equipments to empirically confirm his inference nevertheless he recommended that friction was necessary for slowing down a moving object. This theory of using cycles and epicycles became edgy and there appeared to be no end to the escalating growth in complexity demanded to explain the practicality of the phenomenon. Later, Johannes Kepler disregarded the tools for Ptolemaic paradigm. Initially, Kepler investigated the likelihood that planet Mars could have an elliptical orbit instead of the universally acknowledged circular one. Undoubtedly the angular velocity might not be constant hence it proved complex to find the formulae describing the rate of change of the planets angular velocity. After so many years of research, Kepler came up with the law of equal areas.

Galileos speculation was basically an assumption, just like Keplers cosmology. Nonetheless, each theory reinforced the other and together, they altered the existing perceptions. Afterwards, Newton demonstrated that Keplers three laws could be derived from one theory of motion, thus strengthening the paradigm shifts that Galileo and Keplers original theories.  

Newton further continued with the theory of Newtonian mechanics. This paradigm oversaw celestial mechanics and much of the scientific inventions for two and half centuries. It laid problems that were worth investigating some were specific for instance the description of the details of the motions of planets and moons whereas others were more general for example Newtons law of gravity accounts for the forces objects exert on each other.

This paradigm provided the mechanisms with which the outcome may be sought. Newtonian mechanics initiated the techniques of the calculus that were used by Newtons successors in their research. This paradigm recommended the standards with which the excellence of the outcome can be measured similarity to the paradigm is an indication of scientific value.

Finally, Kuhn argued that the experimental success of Coulombs law was not the solitary consideration that appealed his contemporaries, of concern is the fact that it was an exact analogue of Newtons law of gravity.


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