Science is a knowledge machine rolling down the highway of cultural progress, and you are a cog in it.
In my late teen years, as I embarked on training to become a scientist, I was delighted to discover The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. By analyzing the history of science, Thomas Kuhn outlines the endless process of human discovery and the creation of shared cultural knowledge. What we know to be scientifically true at this moment is just us living in the current “paradigm” of agreed-upon knowledge. There are old paradigms in our past, and there will be new paradigms in our future, after we go through the often painful and chaotic process he calls the “paradigm shift.”
If you’re a scientist, then you may have already read this book, so I’ll just remind you here how wonderful it is. For me, this book releases the weightiness from science. It brings freedom for me or anyone else to move around in this human experiment of scientific discovery. If your academic field feels like you’re bound by chains of orthodoxy, then reading this book just might loosen those tethers.
For the inaugural meeting of The Triforium Tribune Book Club, I chose two very special books: The Flip by Jeffrey Kripal and The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. Both books make you think about the progress of science and human knowledge as a cultural amalgam created by individual people having personal experiences. I hope they inspire you to self-reflect on your place in that progression. I want website participants to begin here so they understand the purpose of this website and its significance at this time.