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According to Kuhn's methodological incommensurability, puzzle-solutions from different eras of normal science are evaluated by reference to different paradigm and methods.

This implies that what was called "scientific method" in the past may no longer be valid now. Astrology may be a good example, and even several ancient and famous astronomers were astrologers as well (see Ptolemy).

With regard to this topic, does Kuhn talk about astrology in particular? If so, where/in which book or essay does he approach this argument?

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I think Kuhn is concerned with incommensurability within science. He doesn't accept astrology as science but characterises it as pseudo-science because of the absence of the paradigm-dominated puzzle solving activity characteristic of what he calls normal science (Paul R. Thagard, 'Why Astrology is a Pseudoscience', PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1978, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1978), pp. 223-234 : 228).

Kuhn may be open to criticism on this point :

But as Watkins has suggested, astrologers are in some respects model normal scientists: they concern themselves with solving puzzles at the level of individual horoscopes, unconcerned with the foundations of their general theory or paradigm ([30], p. 32 ). Hence that feature of normal science does not distinguish science from pseudoscience. What makes astrology pseudoscientific is not that it lacks periods of Kuhnian normal science, but that its proponents adopt uncritical attitudes of "normal" scientists despite the existence of more progressive alternative theories. (Paul R. Thagard, 'Why Astrology is a Pseudoscience', PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1978, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1978), pp. 223-234 : 228).

However that may be, any incommensurabilities that might occur in astrology would have no interest for Kuhn : it is, according to him, not science and can play no part in 'scientific revolutions'.


References

Paul R. Thagard, 'Why Astrology is a Pseudoscience', PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1978, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1978), pp. 223-234.

Watkins, J.W.N. "Against 'Normal Science'", Lakatos & Musgrave, ed. Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, 1970, 25-37 : 32.

  • When I was studying astrology, I noticed that there was almost no reference to experience or observation. There were some generally agreed-upon principles, and more or less valid reasoning from them. This is very definitely not science. – David Thornley Aug 6 '18 at 17:13
  • @David Thornley. I once did some work on astrology in order to give a talk on it; and my impression agrees perfectly with yours. Thanks for comment. – Geoffrey Thomas Aug 6 '18 at 17:22

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