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, 33 (3), 17

Kuhnian Revolutions in Neuroscience: The Role of Tool Development


Kuhnian Revolutions in Neuroscience: The Role of Tool Development

David Parker. Biol Philos.


The terms "paradigm" and "paradigm shift" originated in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas Kuhn. A paradigm can be defined as the generally accepted concepts and practices of a field, and a paradigm shift its replacement in a scientific revolution. A paradigm shift results from a crisis caused by anomalies in a paradigm that reduce its usefulness to a field. Claims of paradigm shifts and revolutions are made frequently in the neurosciences. In this article I will consider neuroscience paradigms, and the claim that new tools and techniques rather than crises have driven paradigm shifts. I will argue that tool development has played a minor role in neuroscience revolutions.

Keywords: Kuhn; Neuroscience; Optogenetics; Paradigm; Paradigm shift; Revolution.

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