Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2002
  • Online publication date: December 2009

6 - Normal Science: From Logic to Case-Based and Model-Based Reasoning



The central distinction of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) is that between normal science and revolutionary science. He offered suggestive and provocative but sketchy accounts of both. Most historians and sociologists who have discussed Kuhn's work have maintained that his account of normal science is the more important, while philosophers and culture theorists – and Kuhn himself – have tended to regard his claims about revolutionary discontinuities and incommensurability as his truly original contribution. In my judgment, the problems that Kuhn engaged in his account of normal science are more heuristically promising for understanding scientific inquiry and human inquiry more generally. Subsequent developments in cognitive psychology have vindicated Kuhn's departures from standard theories of cognition. It may even be the case that what is worth saving in Kuhn's treatment of revolutions depends on the account of cognition that he developed for normal science. After all, Kuhn's own most informative characterization of revolutionary science is that it is extraordinary – nonnormal. Accordingly, I shall examine Kuhn's account of normal scientific cognition as puzzle-solving practices guided by the exemplary problem solutions that he called “exemplars,” together with what he termed “an acquired similarity relation.” I shall center my discussion on that most basic problem concerning the very possibility of inquiry – the Meno paradox – and indicate how Kuhn's account of scientific inquiry attempts to solve it. Here I must limit myself to the “early” Kuhn of Structure and the related essays written in the 1960s and 1970s.

Andersen, Hanne. 2001. On Kuhn. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Barnes, Barry. 1982. T. S. Kuhn and Social Science. New York: Columbia University Press
Bartlett, Frederick. 1932. Remembering. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Blackmore, Susan. 1999. The Meme Machine. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Brannigan, Augustine. 1981. The Social Basis of Scientific Discoveries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Brewer, William. 1987. “Schemas versus Mental Models in Human Memory.” In: Peter Morris, ed. Modelling Cognition. New York: John Wiley, pp. 187-97
Brewer, William, and Glenn Nakamura. 1984. “The Nature and Function of Schemas.” In: R. Wyer, Jr., and T. Srull, ed. Handbook of Social Cognition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, vol. 1, pp. 119–60
Brush, Stephen. 2000. “Thomas Kuhn as a Historian of Science.” Science & Education 9: 39–58
Caneva, Kenneth. 2000. “Possible Kuhns in the History of Science: Anomalies of Incommensurable Paradigms.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 31: 87–124
Collins, Harry. 1990. Artificial Experts: Social Knowledge and Intelligent Machines. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Collins, Harry, and Martin Kasch. 1998. The Shape of Actions: What Humans and Machines Can Do. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Crevier, Daniel. 1993. AI: The Tumultuous History of the Search for Artificial Intelligence. New York: Basic Books
De Mey, Marc. 1982. The Cognitive Paradigm. Dordrecht: Reidel
Dreyfus, Hubert. 1992. What Computers Still Can't Do. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (First edition, 1972.)
Dreyfus, Hubert, and Stuart Dreyfus. 1986. Mind Over Machine. New York: Free Press
Fleck, Ludwik. 1935. Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. As translated and reissued, with Kuhn's forward. Edited by Thaddeus Trenn and Robert Merton. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979
Fuller, Steve. 2000. Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Giere, Ronald. 1988. Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Giere, Ronald. 1994. “The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Theories.” Philosophy of Science 61: 276–96. Reprinted in Giere (1999), pp. 97–117
Giere, Ronald. 1999. Science without Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Hamilton, Kelly. 2001a. “Some Philosophical Consequences of Wittgenstein's Aeronautical Research.” Perspectives on Science 9:1–37
Hamilton, Kelly. 2001b. “Wittgenstein and the Mind's Eye.” In: James Klagge, ed. Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 53–93
Hobsbawm, Eric, and Terence Ranger, eds. 1992. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Hoyningen-Huene, Paul. 1993. Reconstructing Scientific Revolutions: Thomas Kuhn's Philosophy of Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Hull, David. 1988a. “A Mechanism and Its Metaphysics.” Biology and Philosophy 3: 123–273 (including peer commentary and replies)
Hull, David. 1988b. Science as a Process: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Johnson-Laird, Philip. 1983. Mental Models. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Johnson-Laird, Philip, and Ruth Byrne. 1991. Deduction. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Klein, Martin. 1964. “Einstein and the Wave-Particle Duality.” The Natural Philosopher 3: 3–49
Klein, Martin. 1967. “Thermodynamics in Einstein's Thought.” Science 157: 509–16
Klein, Martin. 1970. Paul Ehrenfest: Theoretical Physicist. Amsterdam: North-Holland
Kolodner, Janet. 1993. Case-Based Reasoning. San Mateo, CA: Morgan Kaufmann
Kuhn, Thomas. 1957. The Copernican Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Kuhn, Thomas. 1960. “Engineering Precedent for the Work of Sadi Carnot.” Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences 13: 251–5
Kuhn, Thomas. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Second ed. with added “Postscript,” 1970. Third ed., 1996. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Kuhn, Thomas. 1970a. “Postscript.” Added to second edition of Kuhn (1962), pp. 174–210
Kuhn, Thomas. 1970b. “Logic of Discovery or Psychology of Research?” In Lakatos and Musgrave (1970), pp. 1–23. Reprinted in Kuhn (1977), pp. 266–92
Kuhn, Thomas. 1970c. “Reflections on My Critics.” In Lakatos and Musgrave (1970), pp. 231–78
Kuhn, Thomas. 1974. “Second Thoughts on Paradigms.” In Suppe (1974), pp. 459–82. Reprinted in Kuhn (1977), pp. 293–319
Kuhn, Thomas. 1977. The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Kuhn, Thomas. 1978. Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894–1912. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Kuhn, Thomas. 1993. “Afterward.” In World Changes: Thomas Kuhn and the Nature of Science. Edited by Paul Horwich. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Kuhn, Thomas, John Heilbron, Paul Forman, and Lini Allen. 1967. Sources for the History of Quantum Physics: An Inventory and Report. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society
Lakatos, Imre, and Alan Musgrave, eds. 1970. Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Laudan, Larry. 1977. Progress and Its Problems. Berkeley: University of California Press
Laudan, Larry. 1986. “Intuitionist Meta-Methodologies.” Synthese 67: 115–29
Leake, David, ed. 1996. Case-Based Reasoning: Experiences, Lessons, and Future Directions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Leake, David 1998. “Case-Based Reasoning.” In: William Bechtel and George Graham, eds. A Companion to Cognitive Science. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 465–76
MacIntyre, Alasdair. 1990. Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopedia, Genealogy, and Tradition. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press
Magnani, Lorenzo, Nancy Nersessian, and Paul Thagard, eds. 1999. Model-Based Reasoning in Scientific Discovery. New York: Kluwer
Margolis, Howard. 1987. Patterns, Thinking, and Cognition: A Theory of Judgment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Margolis, Howard. 1993. Paradigms and Barriers: How Habits of Mind Govern Scientific Beliefs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Marshall, Sandra. 1995. Schemas in Problem Solving. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Newell, Allen, and Herbert Simon. 1972. Human Problem Solving. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
Nickles, Thomas. 1989. “Heuristic Appraisal: A Proposal.” Social Epistemology 3: 175–88
Nickles, Thomas 1992. “Good Science as Bad History: From Order of Knowing to Order of Being.” In: Ernan McMullin ed., The Social Dimensions of Science. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 85–129
Nickles, Thomas. 1998. “Kuhn, Historical Philosophy of Science, and Case-Based Reasoning.” Configurations 6: 51–85 (special issue on Thomas Kuhn)
Nickles, Thomas 2000. “Kuhnian Puzzle Solving and Schema Theory.” Philosophy of Science 67 (special issue, PSA 2000 Proceedings): S242–S255
Nickles, Thomas Forthcoming. “Evolutionary Models of Innovation and the Meno Problem.” In Larisa Shavinina, ed., International Handbook on Innovation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Petroski, Henry. 1994. Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Polanyi, Michael. 1958. Personal Knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Polanyi, Michael. 1966. The Tacit Dimension. Garden City, NY: Doubleday
Popper, Karl R. 1959. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. (Expanded translation of Logik der Forschung, 1934.) New York: Basic Books
Popper, Karl R. 1963. “Science: Conjectures and Refutations.” In Conjectures and Refutations. London: Routledge, pp. 33–65. Originally published in 1957
Quine, W. V. O. 1951. “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.” Philosophical Review 60: 20–43 Reprinted with changes in From a Logical Point of View. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953, pp. 20–46
Riesbeck, Christopher. 1996. “What Next? The Future of Case-Based Reasoning in Post-Modern AI.” In Leake (1996), pp. 371–88
Rosch, Eleanor. 1973. “Natural Categories.” Cognitive Psychology 4: 328–50
Rouse, Joseph. 1987. Knowledge and Power. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press
Rouse, Joseph. 2002. How Scientific Practices Matter: Reclaiming Philosophical Naturalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Rumelhart, David, Paul Smolensky, James McClelland, and Geoffrey Hinton. 1986. “Schemata and Sequential Thought Processes in PDP Models.” In: James McClelland and David Rumelhart, eds. Parallel Distributed Processing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, vol. 2, pp. 7–57
Shapere, Dudley. 1982. “The Concept of Observation in Science and Philosophy.” Philosophy of Science 49: 485–525
Snyder, Laura. 1997. “Discoverers' Induction.” Philosophy of Science 64: 580–604
Sommerfeld, Arnold. 1919. Atombau und Spektrallinien. Braunschweig: Vieweg. Many later editions
Suppe, Frederick, ed. 1974. The Structure of Scientific Theories. 2nd ed., enlarged in 1977. Urbana: University of Illinois Press
Toulmin, Stephen. 1961. Foresight and Understanding. New York: Harper & Row
Toulmin, Stephen. 1972. Human Understanding. Princeton: Princeton University Press
Vicente, Kim, and William, Brewer. 1993. “Reconstructive Remembering of the Scientific Literature.” Cognition 46: 101–28
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1953. Philosophical Investigations. New York: Macmillan