Applying Kuhn’s Structure to biological aging research, part 2: the First Paradigm Hypothesis

In the first post, Applying Kuhn’s Structure to biological aging research, part 1: initial questions I formulated some naive and direct Kuhnian questions apropos of philosophy and history of aging research. It’s time now for some history and philosophy of science provocation though. Let’s get to the point quickly in the form of forming a bundle of propositions which I call the First Paradigm Hypothesis of Aging Research. It is currently made out of 5 different claims (the number of propositions can change in the light of further analysis):

  1. Biological aging research finally has the first functioning paradigm in place.
  2. All the existing research on aging so far (=<20th century) was not really based on an easily extractable paradigm, so it can be considered pre-scientific in that respect. It belongs to the pre-history of aging research. (2. is corollary of 1)
  3. Aging research is inherently political as it centers around human application.
  4. Pre-history of aging research was characterised by political oppression, taking fixed, non-malleable nature of aging granted. (this is 3/A so applying 3. to pre-history)
  5. The new first paradigm is political too, but it is now actually enabling research and amplifying it. (this is 3/B so applying 3. to current events).

Arguing for the following 5 propositions demands different strategies. Continue reading “Applying Kuhn’s Structure to biological aging research, part 2: the First Paradigm Hypothesis”

Applying Kuhn’s Structure to biological aging research, part 1: initial questions

Recently I acquired a free copy of Kuhn’s classic The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Second Edition with Postscript 1969) and immediately realised its potential to help us understand what’s going on in biological aging/longevity research currently. See my Twitter thread under hashtag #studyingstructure. This book is perhaps the best example of a 20th century philosophy – philosophy of science, to be more accurate – book that is easy to read and easy to popularise and was actually immensely read already. This also means easy to misunderstand and overgeneralise, see the mainstream over-use of the word paradigm, but this does not concern us here, since we are applying it within it’s own domain, to conceptually make sense historical change in a scientific discipline.

Continue reading “Applying Kuhn’s Structure to biological aging research, part 1: initial questions”