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Daniel Lindquist

"It's quite odd that Kuhn doesn't notice that conceptually (and historically) it's quite possible that during disunified 'immature' eras the paradigms of the competing 'schools' (his term) can be progressive and be (or in virtue of their) puzzle-solving."

That is because pre-paradigmatic sciences (what you've labeled "immature sciences") don't have paradigms, so this is hot in fact conceptually possible for Kuhn. The change of "nature" among "the sorts of elements" that make up a paradigm in a mature/paradigmatic science is just that they form a paradigm now where they didn't before. It's not that "immature" sciences have multiple paradigms where a "mature" science has a singular one. The existence of various phenomena as "the sort of elements" that make up a paradigm is always a backwards projection once a paradigm is up and running; before this happens, nothing is "the sort of element that could make up a paradigm" just on its own, because paradigms across all possible sciences don't have that sort of similarity. Anything *might* be an element of a future paradigm!

Eric Schliesser

Hi Daniel, what do you make of this passage: "What changes with the transition to maturity is not the presence of a paradigm but rather its nature."

Eric Schliesser

Hi Daniel, i agree that fron perspective of normal science there is no paradigm in immature eras. But i am not sure kuhn infers from this there are no paradigms in the schools. SO, what do you make of this passage: "What changes with the transition to maturity is not the presence of a paradigm but rather its nature."

Daniel Lindquist

The way I parse that is that what is present is what will later be called "a paradigm", but it is not yet a paradigm. This I think is how to make sense of the puzzling suggestion in Kuhn's prose that something can be "present" over a span of time but with multiple "natures": what changes is just the ways in which what is there can be accurately described. Before "mature" normal science is on the scene, the materials that will be the paradigm are already there, scattered about; but they are not yet formed into a paradigm until puzzle-solving can be done by looking to them as a model, since it is just their being treated in this way that makes them count as a paradigm.

As an analogy, my grandfather was a young boy in Nebraska many years ago: he was already present in Nebraska. But his nature as a "grandfather" was not there until he moved to Oklahoma and met my grandmother etc. etc. So in a sense I can say that my grandfather was a young boy in Nebraska, even though there was never a young boy in Nebraska who who was a grandfather.

I think Kuhn puts it in this rather awkward way at that point in the text because he wants to ward off the idea that what changes in a revolutionary shift to normal science has to be the introduction of something radically New, a Paradigm that suddenly appears on the scene as a great discovery: it need not be like that because the paradigm can just be (in a sense) things that were already lying about, only now slightly polished up and put to novel work. The revolutionary shift can take the form of a primarily social reorganization that does epistemic work, rather than occurring at the time some remarkable new fact is uncovered or a new theory is first formulated: it may just happen that old, pre-existing work suddenly takes on new relevance or is newly appreciated, and so what was already "present" suddenly takes on the new "nature" of something that inspires a regime of normal scientific puzzle-solving.

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