Descriptions of Scientific Revolutions
Rorty’s Failure at Redescribing Scientific Progress
The twentieth century saw extended development in the philosophy of science to incorporate contemporary expansions of scientific theory and investigation. Richard Rorty was a prominent and rather controversial thinker who maintained that all progress, from social change to scientific inquiry, was achieved through the redescription of existing vocabularies. However, this theory fails to describe revolutionary scientific progress. Thomas Kuhn’s theories of paradigm change, as first described in his seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, better portray this process. I attempt to show this by applying Kuhn’s and Rorty’s views to examples of scientific progress and comparing the results.
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