The introduction introduces the problem of accounting for the rationality of scientific paradigm shifts that motivates the book, sketches the solution proposed, and briefly outlines the chapters to come. To replace a scientific framework rationally requires deeming it sufficiently wanting to merit seeking an alternative. But how can one’s scientific norms and standards be found scientifically wanting if it is by means of them that one scientifically appraises? The solution turns on the difference between self-criticism and exposure to external criticism, which at times can destabilize a norm sufficiently, and render those committed to it sufficiently ambivalent to take a critical stand. The Introduction briefly indicates how this works in science, and outlines the case study detailed in the final three chapters.
Keywords: paradigm shifts, rationality, normative self criticism, normative commitment