What Do Scientists and Engineers Do All Day? On the Structure of Scientific Normalcy

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Most of the debate following from structure of scientific revolutions has focused on revolutionary science and paradigm shift. However, both in kuhn and his successors in science studies, arguments about revolutionary science are built on a foundation of mostly hard-to-contest observations regarding normal science. I survey some of the ways different traditions in science studies have provided fine-grained portraits of wild-type kuhnian normal science and summarize some recent findings from historians and sociologists regarding normal science. A textured approach to normal science is important because normal science proceeds, despite the cogent objections that can be raised against a given paradigm, in part because scientists and engineers are able to make normal science workable, on a quotidian basis, with respect to some ever-shifting set of aims promulgated relative to their professional communities and/or to various constituencies in the societies of which they are a part. That is, normal science keeps going, despite obvious anomalies and ignoration of open questions, because normal science achieves many more goals than just the clearing away of anomalies and open questions.keywordslaboratory ethnographycontroversy studiesnormal sciencesocial cueswork practicessociality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50 Years On
EditorsA. Bokulich, W.J. Devlin
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-13383-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Publication series

SeriesBoston Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science

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