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.