A different model for a different point of view

In response to the prompts I will first analyze the models of history. In the reading from The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson there are three models in the history of science presented. The first model is the great man history where the actions of one very smart person impacts the world so much that history and thinking are forever changed after. The next model is the paradigm shift; this is where a scientist comes along and upends the current paradigm by researching outside the boundaries of that paradigm. This research eventually results in discovering things that the old paradigm cannot justify or support thus leading to a shift to a new paradigm affecting the course of history. The third and final model is the ecosystem theory. This presents the idea there are various interconnected reasons why scientific discovery occurs and changes the course of history. This is illustrated in the book by when it notes that renovations on the minister’s house led to Priestley interest in the study of gas via the time he spent at the brewery (Johnson p. 55), and this would contribute to  Priestley groundbreaking research into gases. Next question is what model did Johnson use to explain Joseph Priestley’s discovery of oxygen.  I believe that Johnson used  the ecosystem theory approach, because on page 78 of the book it notes that Priestley was on a 30 year long hunch and his early fascination with spiders among other things led him discovering oxygen. 

Looking at the three different models that were read about in the story I believe that there is no one correct way to look at history. The model’s just shift what is deemed most important to look at from the person, to the shift of thinking, to the circumstances of the discovery. 

2 thoughts on “A different model for a different point of view

  1. I would agree that there is no one perfect method to view history from. From the reading it seems as though everyone who is a historian featured believed in their model to be the correct method, and that has caused them to be short sighted and acquire a form of tunnel vision which they were rutted in due to their own lack of experience with other models and new and innovative views, I would also argue that only by using as many methods of examination as possible can we have a detailed and comprehensive examination of the past. Perhaps making a new method of examination combining the best of everything could be a good step in the right direction.


  2. I would also agree with that not one of the models is perfect. Besides each one haveng glaring flaws the strengths of them are often unavoidable. Like with the great man model, it may be the odlest and when we hear and see the model like this we may disagree with its use. But when we are taught history we are often told about the actions of individuals and how they brought forth great innovation, thus giving the credit to one person. Example of that are people like Edison and Newton. So while they are all flawed they are still all used and have there place.


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