Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Leap of Scientific Belief

Following from the previous post on Thomas Kuhn's description of scientific progress, this quote might explain some of the shifts in economic thinking over time, like the adoption and this discarding of Keynesianism, only to adopt it again recently.  No doubt, the jump from the classical economic model where prices make sense to the Keynesian model where they do not make sense, requires a leap of belief that cannot be logically explained nor proven (not convincingly, at least, and note this does not assume the classical model is superior).

If that were true, it would mean there would be no logical inference across paradigms.  Well, this would mean, literally, that there could be no rational argument from the old paradigm to the new one.  The decision to adopt the new one would have to be an irrational leap, or sociologically explained.  And Kuhn is not afraid to say it.  He says, “Most of the time the new paradigm is established when the holders of the old paradigm die off, and young people from graduate schools that have learned the new paradigm: they get jobs, they get tenure…the new paradigm takes hold.” 
—Lawrence Cahoone describing Thomas Kuhn’s assertions in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida.  2010.  “New Philosophies of Science.”  Lecture 29.  The Teaching Company.

Blog Archive