Listening to a course on philosophy of science, Lakatos was presented as a middle way between Popper and the positivists strictly rational description of scientific theories and Kuhn's historical/social account scientific theories.
However going into the details, I fail to understand the difference between Lakatos's view and Kuhn's view of science.
Lakatos says that a scientific theory can be divided into two components:
- A hard core of principles or assumptions which form the basis of the theory. If these change then the theory is abandoned in favor of a new one.
- Auxiliary hypotheses which can be changed to make the theory compatible with new experimental results, while still upholding the core assumptions of the theory.
A theory is then in a progressive phase if the changes being made to the auxiliary hypotheses improve its predictive power and are being driven from within the theory. It is regressive (and hence in need of change) if the auxiliary changes are being made as responses to outside challenges which question the theory's validity.
From what I see, Lakatos's hard core corresponds to a Kuhnian paradigm, and his progressive phase is just Kuhn's normal puzzle solving mode of science. A theory in the regressive phase is just the crisis phase that precedes Kuhn's revolutionary science phase.
- How exactly is Lakatos's description of science different from Kuhn's?
- How is his concept of a hard core of assumptions different than Kuhn's paradigm?
- What is common between Lakatos's view and Popper's view (as far as I can see there's no overlap) that makes Lakatos's approach a middle ground between Popper and Kuhn?