Drifting Continents and Shifting Theories
This innovative book uses the story of how a modern science achieved its present shape and focus to introduce the question of the nature of scientific change and its philosophical analysis. The "modern revolution in geology" of the 1960s and 1970s saw the triumph of the global theory of plate tectonics, and decisive turning point in fifty years' controversy and competition first sparked in 1912 by Wegener's proposal of continenta drift. Here, Professor Le Grand interweaves a history of this episode of scientific change with reflective discussions of its historical, philosophical, and social circumstances, and of the development of science more generally. The approach of the book is exploratory; the reader is encouraged to be an active participant--to use the historical narrative to understand and criticize some of the more recent, influential ideas about science and scientists, to draw conclusions, and especially to pose questions about how and why changes occur in scientific knowledge and practice.
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Solid as a rock? Geology before Wegener
Wegener and his theory antecedents and arguments
Debate around the earth
Specialties localism and problemsolving
Interregnum competition and stalemate
Palaeomagnetism Drift and polar wandering
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accepted aims America anomalies apparent approach argued arguments authority beliefs Blackett British Bullard claim conceptual concerned continental continents criticisms crust detailed directionalist discipline discussion early earth earth's magnetic field empirical especially evidence example explain facts favor field followed further gave geologists geology geophysicists geophysics given global theories Hess Holmes hypothesis importance included interests interpretation knowledge Kuhn later Laudan less lines magnetic major marine matters measurements mechanism methods mountains nature North objections observations ocean floors origin palaeomagnetic paradigm patterns perhaps physics plate tectonics poles present problems processes proposed recent reference rejected relative respect reversals ridges rival rocks Runcorn scientific scientists seafloor seems similar social solutions solved South specialist specialties spreading structures studies suggested techniques theoretical theory traditional University versions of Drift Vine Wegener Wegener's Wilson