Scientists use paradigms rather than believing them. The use of a paradigm in research typically addresses related problems by employing shared concepts, symbolic expressions, experimental and mathematical tools and procedures, and even some of the same theoretical statements. Scientists need only understand how to use these various elements in ways that others would accept. These elements of shared practice thus need not presuppose any comparable unity in scientists’ beliefs about what they are doing when they use them. Indeed, one role of a paradigm is to enable scientists to work successfully without having to provide a detailed account of what they are doing or what they believe about it. Thomas Kuhn noted that scientists “can agree in their identification of a paradigm without agreeing on, or even attempting to produce, a full interpretation or rationalization of it. Lack of a standard interpretation or of an agreed reduction to rules will not prevent a paradigm from guiding research.”

The word 'reduction' is used in situations where something decreases in its value or price.

But the word 'reduction' in the passage looks like it has some other meaning.

Is there any other meaning, especially for the context in the passage?

1 Answer 1


Certainly there is another meaning. To reduce something is to make it smaller; it can be used of a price or monetary value, but it is just as often used of number, size, weight etc. etc.

Not being a scientist, I'm not sure that I understand the passage, but an agreed reduction to rules must mean an agreement between scientists to apply fewer rules to their definition of a paradigm.

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