The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 86 (2008) > Issues > Issue 2 > Paradigms, revolutions and models: some insights from Thomas Kuhn for an engineering outlook
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Paradigms, revolutions and models: some insights from Thomas Kuhn for an engineering outlook

Thomas Kuhn argued that science progressed from one ruling paradigm to another through periods of revolution, and also that science was concerned not so much with truth, but with theories that explained phenomena. While most scientists would be uncomfortable with such a relativist and non-realist philosophy of science, engineering could be seen as fitting much better into this Kuhnian perspective. This is because engineers are more interested in dependable models for fabricating safe artifacts than in the truth (i.e. correspondence with reality) or accuracy of their theories. The fact that many different design paradigms produced safe structures in the history of structural design is also a testimony to this.

Prof. W. P. S. Dias, PhD, DIC, MIStructE
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka



Author(s): Dias, W P S

Keywords: thomas kuhn;paradigms;science;education;theories;structures;design;HISTORY;geometry;plastic design;engineering