Popper tried to distinguish a scientific framework from a non-scientific framework ( like Marxism or Psychoanalysis, according to him) by suggesting the criterion of falsification. Kuhn suggested that also science, like other fields, changes according to social rules of the community, and doesn't advance - as Popper believed - by mere refutation of old theories. Doing so he erased the clear line between science and other social practices.
Thinkers like Rorty used Kuhn (among others) to show that language constructs all our knowledge and that all knowledge is fundamentally normative. Their conclusion was that there is no method for choosing one theory over the other, or one "truth" over another.
My problem with this line of thought is this: Kuhn clearly speaks about problems in the old science that originate the need to establish a new science. He calls them anomalies and they take an important role in his story. According to him, the community tends to adopt a new science when too many (the exact number is undefined of course) anomalies are discovered in the old science. Therefore, there is a reason - although not rigidly defined - to change a scientific framework.
If this is true then one of two has to be true as well:
- There is a way to distinguish science from non-science. Science can admit the existence of anomalies in the current framework, while other practices can't.
- Science is a social practice that is not categorically different from any other social practice. Hence, in each framework we can find anomalies and they help us to advance.
If (1) is correct then we have a reason to believe that science can get us closer to some kind of truth, and that science is somehow "stronger" than other practices.
If (2) is correct then we can make a progress in every field the same way we advance in science. In other words we have a reason (although not rigidly defined) to prefer in each field one framework over the other (for the sake of the example: liberalism over conservatism).
in both cases it seems like Rorty's conclusion fails. We can always (or at least sometimes) find some kind of reasons to prefer one truth over another.
Which is correct then, (1) or (2)? and What would Rorty answer if he only could?