Anomaly and the Emergence of Scientific Discoveries – The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition – Thomas S. Kuhn
Trigger warning: – chi ha scoperto l’ossigeno? e quando? – scienza logoteta – vedere e costruire – perché i vichinghi arrvarono in america e non la scoprirono – scoprire è voler scoprire – anomalie invisibili al cervello –
Normal science, the puzzle-solving activity we have just examined, is a highly cumulative enterprise, eminently successful in its aim, the steady extension of the scope and precision of scientific knowledge.
Note:LA SCIENZA COME TE LA IMMAGINI
This pattern of discovery raises a question that can be asked about every novel phenomenon that has ever entered the consciousness of scientists. Was it Priestley or Lavoisier, if either, who first discovered oxygen? In any case, when was oxygen discovered?
Note:CHI HA SCOPERTO L’OSSIGENO? E QUANDO?
Discovery is not the sort of process about which the question is appropriately asked. The fact that it is asked—the priority for oxygen has repeatedly been contested since the 1780’s—is a symptom of something askew in the image of science
Note:LA SCOPERTA NON È LA RISPOSTA A UNA DOMANDA
we need a new vocabulary and concepts for analyzing events …Though undoubtedly correct, the sentence, “Oxygen was discovered,” misleads by suggesting that discovering something is a single simple act … any attempt to date the discovery must inevitably be arbitrary because discovering a new sort of phenomenon is necessarily a complex event, one which involves recognizing both that something is and what it is. …
Note:OCCORRE UN NUOVO VOCABOLARIO
discovery involves an extended, though not necessarily long, process of conceptual assimilation. Can we also say that it involves a change in paradigm?
rays, is a classic case of discovery through accident, a type that occurs more frequently than the impersonal standards of scientific reporting allow us easily to realize.
Note:SERENDIPITY DEI RAGGI X
before experimenting with red oxide of mercury, Lavoisier had performed experiments that did not produce the results anticipated under the phlogiston paradigm;
Note:CAMBIARE PARADIGMA PER CAPIRE
the perception that something had gone wrong was only the prelude to discovery.
Note:VEDERE E RICOSTRUIRE
rays, however, were greeted not only with surprise but with shock. Lord Kelvin at first pronounced them an elaborate hoax.8 Others, though they could not doubt the evidence, were clearly staggered by it. Though X-rays were not prohibited by established theory, they violated deeply entrenched expectations. Those expectations, I suggest, were implicit in the design and interpretation of established laboratory procedures.
Note:LO SHOCK DELLA SCOPERTA
consciously or not, the decision to employ a particular piece of apparatus and to use it in a particular way carries an assumption that only certain sorts of circumstances will arise. There are instrumental as well as theoretical expectations, and they have often played a decisive role in scientific development.
One reason why that nuclear reaction proved especially difficult to recognize was that men who knew what to expect when bombarding uranium chose chemical tests aimed mainly at elements from the upper end of the periodic table.
Note:FISSIONE NUCLEARE. CHI CE L’HA DI FRONTE NON LA SCOPRE
characteristic of all discoveries from which new sorts of phenomena emerge. Those characteristics include: the previous awareness of anomaly, the gradual and simultaneous emergence of both observational and conceptual recognition, and the consequent change of paradigm categories and procedures often accompanied by resistance.
Note:LE TRE FASI DELLA SCOPERTA
There is even evidence that these same characteristics are built into the nature of the perceptual process itself.
Note:LA PSICOLOGIA NORMALIZZA LE ANOMALIE
Bruner and Postman asked experimental subjects to identify on short and controlled exposure a series of playing cards. Many of the cards were normal, but some were made anomalous, e.g., a red six of spades and a black four of hearts. …For the normal cards these identifications were usually correct, but the anomalous cards were almost always identified, without apparent hesitation or puzzlement, as normal. The black four of hearts might, for example, be identified as the four of either spades or hearts. Without any awareness of trouble, it was immediately fitted to one of the conceptual categories prepared by prior experience. …
In science, as in the playing card experiment, novelty emerges only with difficulty, manifested by resistance, against a background provided by expectation.
Note:L’ANOMALIA NON VISTA
That awareness of anomaly opens a period in which conceptual categories are adjusted until the initially anomalous has become the anticipated. At this point the discovery has been completed.
Note:AGGIUSTAMENTO CATEGORIALE… ORA LA SCOPERTA È SERVITA
Anomaly appears only against the background provided by the paradigm.
Note:NECESSITÀ DEL PARADIGMA ALTERNATIVO
The very fact that a significant scientific novelty so often emerges simultaneously from several laboratories is an index both to the strongly traditional nature of normal science and to the completeness with which that traditional pursuit prepares the way for its own change.
COSA INDICA LA SCOPERTA SIMULTANEA