Prematurity in Scientific Discovery
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Prematurity in Scientific Discovery

On Resistance and Neglect
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ISBN-13:
9780520927735
Seiten:
398
Autor:
Ernest B. Hook
eBook Typ:
PDF
Kopierschutz:
Adobe DRM [Hard-DRM]
Sprache:
Englisch
Beschreibung:

For centuries, observers have noted the many obstacles to intellectual change in science. In a much-discussed paper published in
Scientific American in 1972, molecular biologist Gunther Stent proposed an explicit criterion for one kind of obstacle to scientific discovery. He denoted a claim or hypothesis as "premature" if its implications cannot be connected to canonical knowledge by a simple series of logical steps. Further, Stent suggested that it was appropriate for the scientific community to ignore such hypotheses so that it would not be overwhelmed by vast numbers of false leads. In this volume, eminent scientists, physicians, historians, social scientists, and philosophers respond to Stent's thesis.
For centuries, observers have noted the many obstacles to intellectual change in science. In a much-discussed paper published in Scientific American in 1972, molecular biologist Gunther Stent proposed an explicit criterion for one kind of obstacle to scientific discovery. He denoted a claim or hypothesis as "premature" if its implications cannot be connected to canonical knowledge by a simple series of logical steps. Further, Stent suggested that it was appropriate for the scientific community to ignore such hypotheses so that it would not be overwhelmed by vast numbers of false leads. In this volume, eminent scientists, physicians, historians, social scientists, and philosophers respond to Stent's thesis.
List of Figures and Tables

Preface

Acknowledgments

List of Contributors



Part 1. Introduction

1. A Background to Prematurity and Resistance to "Discovery"

2. Prematurity in Scientific Discovery



Part 2. Observer and Participant Accounts

3. Prematurity, Nuclear Fission, and the Transuranium Actinide Elements

4. Resistance to Change and New Ideas in Physics: A Personal Perspective

5. The Timeliness of the Discoveries of the Three Modes of Gene Transfer in Bacteria

6. Scotoma: Forgetting and Neglect in Science



Part 3. Historical Perspectives



Section A. Relatively Unproblematic Exemplars

7. Prematurity and Delay in the Prevention of Scurvy

8. A Triptych to Serendip: Prematurity and Resistance to Discovery in the Earth Sciences

9. Theories of an Expanding Universe: Implications of Their Reception for the Concept of Scientific Prematurity

10. Interdisciplinary Dissonance and Nuclear Fission: Ida Noddack and the Premature Suggestion of Nuclear Splitting



Section B. Disputable Cases

11. Michael Polanyi’s Theory of Surface Adsorption: How Premature?

12. Prematurity and the Dynamics of Scientific Change

13. Barbara McClintock’s Controlling Elements: Premature Discovery or Stillborn Theory?

14. The Work of Joseph Adams and Archibald Garrod: Possible Examples of Prematurity in Human Genetics



Part 4. Natural Selection and Evolution from the Perspective of Prematurity

15. The Prematurity of Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection

16. Prematurity, Evolutionary Biology, and the Historical Sciences



Part 5. Perspectives from the Vantage Point of the Social Sciences

17. Prematurity in Political "Science": Three Paradigms

18. The Impact and Fate of Gunther Stent’s Prematurity Thesis

19. Premature Discovery Is Failure of Intersection among Social Worlds



Part 6. Philosophical Perspectives

20. Fleck, Kuhn, and Stent: Loose Reflections on the Notion of Prematurity

21. The Concept of Prematurity and the Philosophy of Science



Part 7. Closing Considerations

22. Prematurity and Promise: Why Was Stent’s Notion of Prematurity Itself So Premature?

23. Reflections on Hull’s Remarks

24. Comments

25. Extensions and Complexities: In Defense of Prematurity in Scientific Discovery



Index





Contributors: Kenneth J. Carpenter, Nathaniel Comfort, Elihu Gerson, Michael Ghiselin, William Glen, Norris S. Hetherington, Frederic L. Holmes, Ernest B. Hook, David Hull, Martin Jones, Ilana Löwy, Arno G. Motulsky, Gonzalo Munévar, Mary Jo Nye, Michael Ruse, Oliver Sacks, Glenn T. Seaborg, Gunther S. Stent, Lawrence Stern, Charles H. Townes, George Von der Muhll, Norton Zinder