The third great scientific revolution, the Quantum Revolution, is now complete, if not entirely historically resolved. From it is emerging post-quantum, post-Standard Model Quantum Gravity theory.
The Standard Model of physics—with its Relativistic Gauge Quantum Field Theory—is now undergoing the Kuhnian “scientific crisis” that precedes the arising of a new more inclusive integral noetic paradigm, then a “paradigm shift” that shall, in due course, result in a “scientific revolution.” This fourth scientific/cultural noetic revolution (with the Copernican, Newtonian and Quantum revolutions) is to be completed, on Kuhn’s (and Planck’s) account over two or three generations with the academic tenure of the new paradigm practitioners, and the expiration of the ideologues of the old paradigm. Just so, the Newtonian science paradigm evolved historically to became the relativistic quantum paradigm of Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg and Schrödinger, and Feynman.
Philosopher, physicist and historian of science Thomas Kuhn, in his paradigm shattering bestseller, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), demonstrated that Science has historically, and continues to proceed, not continuously and cumulatively, but discontinuously, through scientific revolutions.
Modernist “normal science” utilizes, refines and extends the theoretical and explanatory reach of science through the method of normative hypothesis appraisal of descriptive objective factual propositions. The warrants for the claims of Science are the factual and formal mathematical content of its theories. Such theory is expected to explain anomalies in experimental results. When unanswered anomalies compound to a critical mass, as is now the case with the Standard Model of physics and cosmology, including the logically impossible “Big Bang” singularity, “revolutionary science” (crisis science) or meta-science (in this case meta-physics) enters the fray to provide critical appraisal and correction of the core assumptions and beliefs that guide theory construction and belief within the paradigm. My thesis here is an example. Here the warrants are not the scientific “facts” and theoretical mathematical conjecture that constitute Standard Model theory, but normative information concerning the model’s capacity to manage the anomalous data of the essential constituting body of theory and belief as a whole—in Quine’s holistic idiolect—the “total science” or the “field of force” that is the “coordinate grid” or whole of the entire current scientific paradigmatic “web of belief.”
Moreover, for Kuhn these competing paradigms—the orthodox descending “normal science” paradigm, and the ascending “revolutionary science” paradigm—are “incommensurable,” that is, paradigm neutral rational communication and evaluation across paradigms is extremely problematic, if not impossible. “There is no neutral algorithm for theory choice.” The cognitive “gestalt switch” from old to new paradigm is akin to a non-rational “religious conversion.” Indeed, this productive dialectical tension between orthodoxy and heresy is inherent in religious paradigmatic change, indeed in all sociocultural change.
Kuhn’s holistic point is this: Science proceeds discontinuously, through episodic “scientific revolutions.” There is no rational calculus and no neutral point, no “view from nowhere” (Nagel), no “God’s eye view” (Putnam) from which to evaluate competing science (or religious) paradigms. Kuhn’s view of science continues this externalist historical, social, cultural, contextual, relativist Postmodern shift. Once more, “the whole of science” is not rational and objective. No surprise. Neither are human beings. Science is a psychological, sociological, historical process. Scientific knowledge and truth are inextricably woven into the fabric of the vast sociocultural mindstream of the history of human beings.
Thus have the Postmodernists Gödel, Kuhn, Quine, Derrida and Heidigger shown that Science, the exemplar of rationality, has a non-rational core that it cannot escape.