Kuhn’s scientific values for theory-choice

First, Kuhn’s argument was that there was no way to use theories to choose from amongst conflicting theories.  Well taken.

Second, Kuhn advanced ‘scientific values’ as influential of choice of paradigm:

  • Accuracy
  • Consistency
  • Scope
  • Simplicity
  • Fruitfulness

Kuhn contrasts ‘values’ with ‘rules’.  Interesting to note here both Wittgenstein’s fascination with rules and Kripke’s interpretation of them within the context of the private language argument.  Wittgenstein laid ‘values’ outside the proper bounds of language, and reserved a deep silence for them.  I’ve always thought that the vast majority, less principled than he, make liberal use of their ‘values’ both when deciding which rule-systems to select, and in deciding how to apply rules.

These are from the Structure of Scientific revolutions, as cited in Rorty’s ‘Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature’


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