In his seminal work on the history of scientific development, Thomas Kuhn described the structure of that development as revolutionary in nature, occurring at that point in time “in which an older paradigm is replaced in whole or in part by an incompatible one.” The impetus for this paradigm shift is malfunction—“scientific revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense … that an existing paradigm has ceased to function adequately in the exploration of an aspect of nature to which that paradigm itself had previously led the way…. [T]he sense of malfunction that can lead to crisis is prerequisite to revolution.” Kuhn himself analogized his conception of the theory and operation of scientific revolutions to political revolutions, drawing out parallels in genesis, form and function between the two.

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