Dissonance, Dissent and Discovery
Scientific revolutions require sound evidence overwhelmingly contradictory to the prevailing paradigm, and willingness to believe such evidence. Histories of science have traditionally concentrated on the first factor. The second factor indicates, however, that attitude change may play an equally important role. This paper conjectures that a model of attitude change known as cognitive dissonance can be fruitfully applied to the philosophy and history of science. This paper conjectures that resolution of dissonance in science, leading up to adoption of a new paradigm, follows a particular sequence. Cognitive dissonance is applied to Merton's theory of multiples. The paper concludes with a capsule view of the Keynesian Revolution in economics as a process of dissonance, dissent and discovery.
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