36 Point Tok Essay
Essay on prescribed title
Word Count: 1587
Date: January 2008
[This essay scored 36/40 : an A grade. MF ]
“History is always on the move, slowly eroding today’s orthodoxy and making space for yesterday’s heresy.” Discuss the extent to which this claim applies to history and at least one other area of knowledge.
In order to find out if the claim applies to the areas of knowledge history and chemistry I will break the question down in three parts. Firstly I ask if history and chemistry move. Secondly I question if it erodes today’s orthodoxy and finally I consider if yesterday’s heresy takes over.
In my opinion the claim applies to some extent to history and to a great extent to chemistry.
Are history …show more content…
Had his theories been published in his time, then “they would have revolutionized the science of the 16th century. Leonardo actually anticipated many discoveries of modern times.” He studied the circulation of the blood in anatomy and did a great discovery on the circulatory system. Unfortunately his insight did not erode today’s orthodoxy. This could be explained by the influence of the church, which determined what was commonly accepted in those days. Only a century later, William Harvey published a book in which he wrote about the discovery of the human circulatory system as his own. In this example the prevailing orthodoxy does not change, even after an important discovery.
In chemistry a new paradigm will only be accepted when it can answer the question, which the previous paradigm couldn’t. This means that today’s orthodoxy must be eroded. “At the end of the eighteenth century it was widely known that some compounds ordinarily contained fixed proportions by weight of their constituents.” Yet, “the generalization of this theory was impossible without an abandonment of affinity theory and a reconceptualization of the boundaries of the chemist’s domain.” The meteorologist Dalton approached these problems with a different paradigm than his contemporary chemists and this lead to the Chemical Atomic Theory. The old theory was rejected in order to