Problematic Science: The Becoming Dragon of Fossils

Author: Alexa Chapman
Major: Biology, Philosophy
Approved: Fall 2018
Status: Completed

How might one account for changes in science? In his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn tries to separate science into spans of normal science proliferated by paradigmshifting revolution. Though Kuhn gives a good account of the philosophy of science moving past progressivism, the story he tells is too episodic. Normal and revolutionary science are tendencies of science rather than episodes and are happening everywhere all the time. Using the Dragon Research Collaborative, I will continue to rethink the philosophy of science using the framework set forth by Deleuze and Guattari. The Dragon Research Collaborative tends towards revolution in its transdisciplinarity; this transdisciplinary method is critical to a problem-based approach to science. All too often, science is practiced within strict disciplinary confines, which hinders the proliferation of knowledge. Science is becoming increasingly problem-based: for example, neuroscience is a combination of biology, chemistry, and psychology, while materials science is a mixture of chemistry and physics. As science advances, problems are continually encountered, and a problem-based approach requires boundaries to be ignored between disciplines and subdisciplines. From its inception, the Dragon Research Collaborative sought to solve a problem:  deciphering the connection between Lepidodendron fossils and dragon mythology. This paper will serve as an alternate account of how transdisciplinary science could be practiced.