The modern society has reached the unparalleled level of the development. In fact, within the last few centuries, the mankind has made the greater progressed than it has ever made before. At the same time, the current high level of the development of the modern society is basically determined by the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions that had occurred since the 16th century and defined the further development of social life, technologies, economy, science, and philosophy. This is why it is extremely important to analyze the factors that contributed to the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions and find out the major consequences of these revolutions.
As a periodization, the Scientific Revolution has grown increasingly complex. As it has attempted to take account of new research and alternative perspectives, new additions and alterations have been made. Among the most obvious additions over the last 50 years have been a number of sub-periodizations that have been spawned by more narrow research topics, usually from a more focused topical theme or from a more narrow chronological period. Among these sub-periodizations, the more widely accepted include: The Copernican Revolution; the Galilean Revolution; the Keplerian Revolution; the Cartesian Synthesis; and not least, the Newtonian Revolution and the Newtonian Synthesis.
Observing natural patterns of neural activity generates hypotheses about their functional significance, but causal tests of such hypotheses require direct manipulation of the underlying neural activity patterns. In the 1950s, Penfieldâs electrical stimulation experiments suggested that a memory or thought could be elicited by activating neurons in the underlying network. In intervening years, electrical, chemical, and genetic methods for stimulating or inhibiting neurons have provided numerous insights. Currently, stimulating electrodes are being placed in human patients for spinal cord stimulation and deep brain stimulation (DBS), among other therapeutics. Despite these successes, current human stimulation methods lack precision and specificity, and could benefit from technological advances. In non-human neuroscience, a major recent advance in circuit manipulation has been the development of optogenetic tools based on light-activated channels and pumps. The combination of rapid activation, reliable effects, and genetic delivery of the optogenetic channels to specific cell types and brain regions has revolutionized modern neuroscience. Optogenetic tools for depolarizing and hyperpolarizing neurons have proved to be a general method for testing and generating hypotheses of brain function across systems, brain regions, and (non-human) species.
At a deeper level, the concepts of optical imaging should be considered across other modalities such as magnetic fields or ultrasound. The value of existing technologies for human neuroscience, such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG), is immense; developing higher-resolution methods for human use is an aspiration heard across the field. A non-invasive or minimally invasive imaging modality with cellular resolution that could interrogate large portions of the mammalian brain would represent a major advance for both animal and human studies. Any such technology that was safely applicable in humans would revolutionize our understanding of human brain function.
Kuhn’s work called attention to what he called “theessential tension” between tradition and innovation (Kuhn 1959,1977a). While he initially claimed that his model applied only tomature natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, and parts ofbiology, he believed that the essential tension point applies, invarying degrees, to all enterprises that place a premium on creativeinnovation. His work thereby raises interesting questions, such aswhich kinds of social structures make revolution necessary (bycontrast with more continuous varieties of transformative change) andwhether those that do experience revolutions tend to be moreprogressive by some standard.
Cohen sets the bar high. Given Copernicus’ own conservatism andthe fact that few people paid attention to his work for half acentury, the Copernican achievement was not a revolution byCohen’s lights. Or if there was a revolution, should it not beattributed to Kepler, Galileo, and Descartes? This thought furtherproblematizes the notion of revolution, for science studies experts aswell as scientists themselves know that scientific and technologicalinnovation can be extremely nonlinear in the sense that a seeminglysmall, rather ordinary development may eventually open up an entirenew domain of research problems or a powerful new approach. ConsiderPlanck’s semi-classical derivation of the empirical blackbodyradiation law in 1900, which, under successively deeper theoreticalderivations by himself and (mainly) others over the next two and ahalf decades, became a pillar of the revolutionary quantum theory. AsKuhn (1978) shows, despite the flood of later attributions to Planck,it is surprisingly difficult, on historical and philosophical grounds,to justify the claim that he either was, or saw himself as, arevolutionary in 1900 and for many years thereafter. (Kuhn 2000boffers a short summary.) Augustine Brannigan (1981) and Robert Olby(1985) defend similar claims about Mendel’s alleged discovery ofMendelian inheritance.
To guide the BRAIN Initiative and ensure that these goals and principles are evaluated and refreshed as appropriate, we recommend that a scientific advisory board be established, to be composed of scientists who are experts in the diverse fields relevant to the Initiative â neuroscience, molecular biology, the clinical sciences, the physical and quantitative sciences, and ethics. The rapid pace of technological and conceptual change in neuroscience almost ensures that some portions of this report will be obsolete within several years. A cohesive and rigorous scientific advisory board will be invaluable in responding to future challenges.
As part of the planning process, the working group was asked to estimate the cost of the BRAIN Initiative. While we did not conduct a detailed cost analysis, we considered the scope of the questions to be addressed by the initiative, and the cost of programs that have developed in related areas over recent years. Thus our budget estimates, while provisional, are informed by the costs of real neuroscience at this technological level. To vigorously advance the goals of the BRAIN Initiative as stated above, we recommend an investment by the NIH that ramps up to $400 million/year over the next five years (FY16-20), and continues at $500 million/year subsequently (FY21-25). A sustained, decade-long commitment at this level will attract talented scientists from multiple fields to the interdisciplinary collaborations that are essential to the BRAIN Initiative and its ambitious goals.
7. Accountability to NIH, the taxpayer, and the basic, translational, and clinical neuroscience communities. The BRAIN Initiative is extremely broad in interdisciplinary scope and will involve multiple partners both within and outside the NIH. Oversight mechanisms should be established to ensure that BRAIN funds are invested wisely for the ultimate benefit of the public and the scientific community.
These examples suggest that Cohen’s account of scientificrevolution (and Kuhn’s) is tied too closely to the idea ofpolitical revolution in placing so much weight on the intentions ofthe generators. In the last analysis, many would agree, revolution,like speciation in biology, is a retrospective judgment, a judgment ofeventual consequences, not something that is always directlyobservable as such in its initial phases, e.g., in the stated theintentions of its authors. On the other hand, a counterintuitiveimplication of this consequentialist view of revolutions is that therecan be revolution without revolt (assuming that revolt is a deliberatecourse of action), revolutionary work without authors, so to speak, orat least revolutionary in eventual meaning despite the authors’intentions. Then why not just speak of evolution rather thanrevolution in such cases? For, as we know by analogy from evolutionarybiology, in the long run evolution can be equally transformative, evenmoreso (see below).
The Toulmin and Goodfield quotation invites us to ask, When did talkof scientific revolutions enter philosophy of science in a significantway? And the answer seems to be: there is a sprinkling of uses of theterm ‘scientific revolution’ and its cognates prior toKuhn, but these were ordinary expressions that did not yet have thestatus of a technical term.