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Conceptualizing paradigms: on reading Kuhn’s history of the quantum

Potters, Jan (2022) Conceptualizing paradigms: on reading Kuhn’s history of the quantum. Annals of Science.

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Abstract

In this article, I discuss the criticisms raised against Thomas Kuhn’s Black-Body Theory. These criticisms concern two issues: how to understand Planck’s position with regards to the quantization of energy in 1901, and how to understand the book’s relation to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Both criticisms, I argue, concern the notion of a paradigm: the first concerns how Boltzmann acted as an exemplar for Planck, and the second whether the book provides a paradigm change. I will then argue that both criticisms presume a conceptualization of paradigms that does not align well with Kuhn’s conceptualization of it in both Structure and later work: they assume, more specifically, that sharing a paradigm presupposes sharing an interpretation of it, and that paradigm changes are essentially identical to gestalt switches. On the basis of this, I will then argue that the criticisms are misguided, that Kuhn’s position regarding Planck’s work is in fact quite close to the indetermination-view developed by some of his critics, and that the book fits Structure quite well. In conclusion, I will then reflect on how the narrative provided in Black-Body Theory connects with Kuhn’s views on the relation between history and philosophy of science.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Potters, JanJan.Potters@UAntwerpen.be0000-0002-5292-5369
Keywords: Thomas Kuhn; Black-Body Theory; Max Planck; History of the Quantum
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Dr. Jan Potters
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2022 04:05
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2022 04:05
Item ID: 20470
Journal or Publication Title: Annals of Science
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00033...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1080/00033790.2022.2063945
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 12 April 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20470

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