Why seek criteria that will lead to a coherent quality theory with explanatory power?
How would we describe someone with the “right” kind of ability to apply their experience for developing ideas leading to a theory? We will turn to Thomas Kuhn, for the answer:
Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922 – 1996) was an American physicist, historian, and philosopher of science whose controversial 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was deeply influential in both academic and popular circles, introducing the term “paradigm shift”, which has since become an English-language staple (Wikipedia).
- They are characterized by Individuality. The necessity for explicitly communicating ideas in any group endeavor, implicitly hampers the development of radically new ideas. Any new idea will not be easy to describe in terms of existing vocabulary or existing ideas; the requirement to discuss ideas as they develop may inhibit the development of new and incommunicable ideas, i.e., most major paradigms have been attributed to single individuals working alone (Reynolds, 1971c).
- They have an ability to understand “Good and Bad Ideas”. Bright solitary thinkers in the past appeared very adept at identifying a good idea from a bad idea; they are highly discriminating. They ignore the bad ideas and concentrate on the good ideas.
- They have significant knowledge in their fields. Although working alone, they have a high degree of knowledge of existing theories in the field of interest; they know when a good idea is a new idea.
- They are not dogmatic. New ideas seem to come more readily to those who are not steeped in or slave to existing paradigms, theories, or ideas. In fact, the greatest advances in the physical sciences have come from either the very young or from older individuals who were new to the field – both with little commitment to dogma.
- They are close to the phenomenon. New theories apparently come from individuals who are deeply engrossed in the subject matter, so engrossed that an intuitive or incommunicable new idea with relationships appears more substantial in thought than other, unrelated interests.
Next post…synthesis of PREPARATION.