, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 441-464
Date: 07 Nov 2009

How accurately does Thomas Kuhn’s model of paradigm change describe the transition from the static view of the universe to the big bang theory in cosmology?

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Abstract

Up to the 1960s the prevalent view of science was that it was a step-by-step undertaking in slow, piecemeal progression towards truth. Thomas Kuhn argued against this view and claimed that science always follows this pattern: after a phase of “normal” science, a scientific “revolution” occurs. Taking as a case study the transition from the static view of the universe to the Big Bang theory in cosmology, we appraised Kuhn’s theoretical approach by conducting a historical reconstruction and a citation analysis. As the results show, the transition in cosmology can be linked to many different persons, publications, and points in time. The findings indicate that there was not one (short term) scientific revolution in cosmology but instead a paradigm shift that progressed as a slow, piecemeal process.