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The Structure of Theological RevolutionsHow the Fight Over Birth Control Transformed American Catholicism$
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Mark S. Massa

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190851408

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190851408.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2021

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

(p.33) 2 The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
The Structure of Theological Revolutions

Mark S. Massa

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a more detailed examination of Thomas Kuhn’s structure than that provided in the Introduction. The chapter explains how and why Kuhn’s book permanently rejected the idea of scientific “progress.” The author notes that although most Catholics experienced the widespread critique of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical as a sudden (if welcome) rejection of the kind of theological argument that the Church had utilized in its moral teaching for several centuries, the cracks in the foundations of that older approach to natural law had appeared considerably before 1968. The emergence of a historicist approach to moral theology in the decades before the promulgation of the encyclical contextualized the rocky reception accorded it within a much larger historical framework. Further, even the guild of moral theologians had come to a much more nuanced understanding of what could be (and what could not be) “unchangeable” in Christian ethics.

Keywords:   Thomas Kuhn, paradigm shift, ordinary science, scientific anomalies, normal science, Isaac Newton, science and religion

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