The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

by

Thomas S. Kuhn

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An anomaly occurs when, in the course of normal science, a researcher sees something that does not make sense within a given paradigm’s rules. Once enough scientists have noticed an anomaly, it creates a scientific “crisis,” in which scientists begin to question the paradigm they have been operating under. Even though anomalies disrupt the course of normal science, normal science is (paradoxically) what makes anomalies possible: by teaching scientists exactly what to expect, normal science makes it easier to notice when something small stands out.

Anomaly Quotes in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The The Structure of Scientific Revolutions quotes below are all either spoken by Anomaly or refer to Anomaly. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Chicago Press edition of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions published in 2012.
Chapter 6 Quotes

New and unsuspected phenomena are, however, repeatedly uncovered by scientific research, and radical new theories have again and again been invented by scientists. […] If this characteristic of science is to be reconciled with what has already been said, then research under a paradigm must be a particularly effective way of inducing paradigm change. That is what fundamental novelties of fact and theory do. Produced inadvertently by a game played under one set of rules, their assimilation requires the elaboration of another set.

Related Characters: Thomas Kuhn (speaker)
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

Anomaly appears only against the background provided by the paradigm. The more precise and far-reaching that paradigm is, the more sensitive an indicator it provides of anomaly and hence of an occasion for paradigm change.

Related Characters: Thomas Kuhn (speaker)
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

Examining the record of past research from the vantage of contemporary historiography, the historian of science may be tempted to exclaim that when paradigms change, the world itself changes with them. Led by a new paradigm, scientists adopt new instruments and look in new places. Even more important, during revolutions scientists see new and different things when looking with familiar instruments in places they have looked before. […] In so far as their only recourse to that world is through what they see and do, we may want to say that after a revolution scientists are responding to a different world.

Related Characters: Thomas Kuhn (speaker)
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:
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Anomaly Term Timeline in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The timeline below shows where the term Anomaly appears in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6. Anomaly and the Emergence of Scientific Discovery
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Kuhn argues that a paradigm shift begins with an “anomaly”: some case or instance in which the rules of the paradigm appear fundamentally at odds... (full context)
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In turning their attention to the anomaly, scientists are also blurring the lines between factual and theoretical discovery. To illustrate this, Kuhn... (full context)
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...skeptical of the scientific knowledge he had been taught. Once Lavoisier started to notice an anomaly, his discovery of oxygen gave “shape and form” to the new paradigm that would allow... (full context)
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The invention of X-ray machines also exemplifies this kind of discovery from anomalies. Wilhelm Roentgen, testing cathode rays, saw light glowing in an unexpected part of his apparatus.... (full context)
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...draws on a psychological experiment to argue that the longer someone pays attention to an anomaly, the more they are forced to acknowledge and make sense of it. In the experiment,... (full context)
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...more rigid a scientific paradigm becomes, the easier it is for scientists to spot an anomaly. This is why scientific revolutions always come out of normal science. (full context)
Chapter 7. Crisis and the Emergence of Scientific Theories
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Kuhn points out that even as anomalies are constructive—leading to new discoveries and theories—they are also destructive of the knowledge that has... (full context)
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...ideas that light is merely mechanical wave motion. But rather than paying attention to this anomaly, scientists ignored the experiments and tried to theorize new edits to the original paradigm. It... (full context)
Chapter 8. The Response to Crisis
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But while anomalies lead to crises, counterinstances (or moments in which the paradigm does not behave exactly as... (full context)
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 Only very special kinds of anomalies, then, create crises. Sometimes this is because the anomaly has practical importance for society, as... (full context)
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...of “extraordinary science.” In contrast to normal science, which tries to reject or resolve the anomaly, extraordinary science works with the anomaly to create a new paradigm. However, Kuhn notes that... (full context)
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...will go. The second step, as practiced by Copernicus and Einstein, is to isolate the anomaly and make it seem clearer and more out of place than it did initially—to “localize... (full context)
Chapter 12. The Resolution of Revolutions
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...begin to test out the old paradigm to see if it holds up against various anomalies. At the same time, they begin to compare this old paradigm to the new theory... (full context)
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...paradigm will flourish. Kuhn sees Popper’s idea of falsification as another way of talking about anomalies (and the crises that come from them). In that case, Kuhn imagines a “two-stage formulation”... (full context)