Stakeholders in the ruling paradigm defend it until contrary evidence becomes overwhelming—at which point the old order shatters, giving way to something new. That’s the upheaval Kuhn memorably dubbed a paradigm shift.
In philosophical terms, U.S. naval aviation is attempting a difficult feat: superintending an orderly paradigm shift from manned to a composite of manned and unmanned air wings. Out with the old paradigm, in with the new. If successful, such a transition would gladden the hearts of both Popper and Kuhn. One imagines they would agree that continual experimentation using the best scientific instruments at hand—hello, UCAS-D!—constitutes the best way to oversee the transition to a new age of unmanned flight with minimal turbulence. With apologies to Aegis forefather Wayne Meyer, let’s amend his formula: build a little, test a lot, learn a lot.
Image: U.S. Navy