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Quiz about Me You and Kuhn Scientific Revolutions
Quiz about Me You and Kuhn Scientific Revolutions

Me, You, and Kuhn: Scientific Revolutions Quiz


Here's a quiz based on Thomas Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions (as theorized in his book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"). Materials consulted include Kuhn's above-mentioned book, and the "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy."

A multiple-choice quiz by Antwell. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
Antwell
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
293,817
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
572
Last 3 plays: Guest 158 (1/10), Guest 112 (3/10), Guest 180 (4/10).
Question 1 of 10
1. Paradigm shift! How is this oft abused term defined by Kuhn? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Which of the following is NOT an example of a paradigm shift? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. According to Kuhn, what is 'normal science'? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. In Kuhn's view, how does a crisis arise during a period of 'normal science'? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. As described by Kuhn, what is a typical reaction of the scientific community to dissident theories? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. According to Kuhn, the academic rigors of school train students to become scientists who do what? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. According to Kuhn, for a 'dissident' theory to replace the current paradigm, i.e. set into motion a scientific revolution, must it put forth sufficiently novel ideas which attract a loyal group of adherents?


Question 8 of 10
8. 'Kuhn believes that rival paradigms are commensurable.' Is this statement true or false?


Question 9 of 10
9. How does Kuhn describe the processes carried out by scientists during the period of normal science? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Which of the following options is a probable resolution of a crisis in the scientific community? Hint



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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Paradigm shift! How is this oft abused term defined by Kuhn?

Answer: A revolution in the scientific community where the scientific theories/methodologies once subscribed to by members of the community are replaced by an incommensurable theory/methodology

The crisis mentioned in one of the choices above actually leads to the paradigm shift. The term paradigm is tricky to define, but the gist of it is includes: theories meant to explain a particular phenomena (e.g. light), and the methodologies used to affirm the said theory.

Kuhn himself used the term somewhat loosely. Today, the definition of 'paradigm shift' has been bastardized by the layperson to generally mean 'a radical change'.
2. Which of the following is NOT an example of a paradigm shift?

Answer: FROM Copernicus's heliocentric theory TO Kepler's theory of planetary motion

Kepler's theory of planetary motion actually builds on Copernicus's heliocentric theory; it does not illustrate the radical changes of the views held by the scientific community, as is characterized by a paradigm shift.
3. According to Kuhn, what is 'normal science'?

Answer: The period when scientists work to affirm (through experimentation) the reigning paradigm

The point of time when no particular theory reigns supreme in the general scientific community is actually a period of disorder from which a future dominant paradigm would arise, i.e. the period from which 'normal science' would develop.

Some infer (Kuhn himself, I believe, does not hold this view) from Kuhn's work that no absolute 'truth' exists, that is, that no scientific theory would ever be able to adequately explain the universe.
4. In Kuhn's view, how does a crisis arise during a period of 'normal science'?

Answer: This happens when a dissident theory, which is able to account for phenomena which previously could not be explained by the reigning paradigm, or explains phenomena better, is suggested

According to Kuhn, anomalies in the paradigm would always occur. During periods of normal science, scientists would work towards solving the anomalies, possibly by conducting more experiments in the hope that the previous anomalous data was the result of errors (e.g. Pasteur and his attempts to debunk spontaneous generation), or by altering the original paradigm to account for the anomalies (e.g. Ptolemy's abstruse concept of epicycles within epicycles).

When scientist abandon a paradigm for a new one, a scientific revolution occurs.

(Kuhn did not address the issue of flying pigs, unfortunately.)
5. As described by Kuhn, what is a typical reaction of the scientific community to dissident theories?

Answer: The scientific community generally pooh-poohs (sometimes with much vitriol) the dissident theories, and go out of their way to disprove them

The reactions to dissident theories were often very colorful: reactions to Darwin's theory of evolution was very prominently barbed, as were those to Copernicus's geocentric theory (interestingly, both reactions were partially rooted in the religious fervor of the Roman Catholic Church). Scientists certainly do not welcome dissident theories with open arms, and do generally strive to refute them, with good reason of course (cold fusion, anyone?).

Technically, 'They raise their hind quarters and urinate on them' is, figuratively speaking, not incorrect, but I was going for a more literal answer. Give yourself brownie points if you chose that anyway!
6. According to Kuhn, the academic rigors of school train students to become scientists who do what?

Answer: Conform to the reigning paradigm, and contribute to the act of 'normal science' by affirming the paradigm

Scientists do not generally work to overthrow the current paradigm, nor do they ignore anomalies; they actually work to stretch the current paradigm such that it accounts for the anomalies.
7. According to Kuhn, for a 'dissident' theory to replace the current paradigm, i.e. set into motion a scientific revolution, must it put forth sufficiently novel ideas which attract a loyal group of adherents?

Answer: Yes

Kuhn proposes that this loyal group of adherents chooses to espouse the dissident theory not entirely due to rational reasons. He even suggests that the nationalities or personalities of the proponents of the dissident theory could influence the decision of whether a revision to the current paradigm is to be undertaken by the scientific community.
8. 'Kuhn believes that rival paradigms are commensurable.' Is this statement true or false?

Answer: False

Kuhn postulates that rival paradigms are not comparable, or commensurable. He believed that the incommensurability of paradigms are rooted in three different elements: methodological (i.e. the paradigms cannot be compared due to the disjunct methods of evaluation), observational (i.e. evidence collected through observation cannot be a basis of comparison, as perception of evidence is theory-dependent), and semantic (paradigms used language differently, and hence it is difficult to juxtapose paradigms since certain terms could not be easily translated into another paradigm).
9. How does Kuhn describe the processes carried out by scientists during the period of normal science?

Answer: Puzzle-solving

Kuhn refers to the process where scientists affirm the reigning paradigm through experiments as 'puzzle-solving'. This term suggests that the so-called 'puzzle' is familiar, that there is a high probability of solving the 'puzzle', and that a conventional method of solving the 'puzzle' exists.
10. Which of the following options is a probable resolution of a crisis in the scientific community?

Answer: All the options are probable

The existence/non-existence of the Higgs boson is an example of a conundrum which was previously unsolvable due to a lack of suitable technology. The Large Hadron Collider on the Franco-Swiss border (operational since 2009) is expected to provide some answers on the issue.
Source: Author Antwell

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor CellarDoor before going online.
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