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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by…

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (original 1962; edition 1996)

by Thomas S. Kuhn

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5,00445907 (3.99)21
Title:The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Authors:Thomas S. Kuhn
Info:University Of Chicago Press (1996), Edition: 3, Paperback, 226 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:history, nonfiction, philosophy, science

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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn (1962)

  1. 10
    Human Understanding: The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts by Stephen Toulmin (thcson)
    thcson: Toulmin gives a good critique of Kuhn and discusses the history of scientific concepts from an evolutionary point of view. He utilizes the history of science in much the same way.
  2. 11
    The Body in Question by Jonathan Miller (Thruston)
    Thruston: The nature of the scientific process set out in Kuhn's masterly account, is one of the central themes in Miller's entertaining history of medicine and the way humans perceive themselves.

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English (43)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
Largely incomprehensible due to extremely overdone word choices. If this author has a large word that requires a dictionary or an understandable word to choose from, he invariably chooses the large word. I have a sizable vocabulary and am well read, including older Gothic romances, as well as in PhD level scholarly work, but his writing is beyond dense. It isn't like cutting one's way through a dense thicket - it is like running up on a granite wall. Even contextual clues are absent since those are hard-to-follow words as well. ( )
  VincentDarlage | Jan 30, 2015 |
Perhaps I'm underrating this book, because none of what he says seems revolutionary today, even though it must have seemed that way in the 60s. Reading it 52 years after its original publication, it appears stolidly reasonable, which is probably a testament to how influential it's been. Hacking's introductory essay provides some much-needed context. Still, there is nothing much that's new here unless you believe either that science is totally ahistorical and perfectly objective or alternately that science is entirely arbitrarily constructed and completely subjective.

P.S. The objection from some reviewers that the book is too long or too difficult is funny to me...it's quite clear and concise, in my opinion. ( )
  brleach | Jan 26, 2015 |
I would give this 6 stars if I could.

The theses of this work are fairly well know, to those who would come looking for it, so I will not get into that. Rather I will say that this is a book that deserves a re-reading or two (or three) for the nuance that runs all throughout it. I will certainly be coming back to it in a few months or a year. ( )
  dcunning11235 | May 21, 2014 |
German version
  athaulf | Feb 7, 2014 |
Insofar as I can evaluate this in any kind of “official” capacity, it’s not as a scientist, nor even as a philosopher, but as an intellectual historian, or to be more accurately shallow and with the correct focus on the linguistic, a dilettante of ways of seeing and speaking nature. A fake historian, then; but certainly not as someone who can engage deeply with the procedural choices that paradigm changes and revolutionary situations imply, nor with the same interest in the practical implications for usable knowledge and method; nor as someone who really engages deeply with the epistemological model Kuhn presents. Some of the small things (which in the context of this book are still large things) he says strike me as true: that science doesn’t develop toward anything, but unpredictably away from its beginnings; that normal science solves puzzles with predictable endpoints, and that any anomalous, charismatic discovery is in a way a crisis; that Newton is a special case of Einstein, since our differing definitions of some concept like “mass” do not alter the workings of being, merely our perspective on them; that incommensurability isn’t some cod-postmodernism or extreme, nihilistic relativity, but simply a matter of different languages that need translation—albeit that they can only ever carve out a certain common ground between them. This is only a very limited purview on what Kuhn is saying; but it’s what I’ve got, and it makes me respect the hell out of him for understanding that we’re always just saying the same thing in different and more (or less!) fruitful ways, not overturning the picture of being—and that that makes the idea of scientific revolutions both undeniable and not scary at all, something that both positivists and relativists seem perennially and shockingly unable to get down with. Still relevant, Kuhny, even if subsequent developments have made it very hard to write about “paradigm shifts” with a straight face. ( )
6 vote MeditationesMartini | Aug 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
The lasting value of Kuhn’s thesis in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that it reminds us that any science, however apparently purified of the taint of philosophical speculation, is nevertheless embedded in a philosophical framework — and that the great success of physics and biology is due not to their actual independence from philosophy but rather to physicists’ and biologists’ dismissal of it. Those who are inclined to take this dismissal as meaning that philosophy is dead altogether, or has been replaced by science, will do well to recognize the force by which Kuhn’s thesis opposes this stance: History has repeatedly demonstrated that periods of progress in normal science — when philosophy seems to be moot — may be long and steady, but they lead to a time when non-scientific, philosophical questions again become paramount. ...

Kuhn deserves the respect of the rigorous criticism that has come his way. It is fitting that his provocative thesis has faced blistering scrutiny — and remarkable that it has survived to instruct and vex us five decades later.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas S. Kuhnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hacking, IanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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History, if viewed as a repository for more than anecdote or chronology, could produce a decisive transformation in the image of science by which we are now possessed.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0226458083, Paperback)

There's a "Frank & Ernest" comic strip showing a chick breaking out of its shell, looking around, and saying, "Oh, wow! Paradigm shift!" Blame the late Thomas Kuhn. Few indeed are the philosophers or historians influential enough to make it into the funny papers, but Kuhn is one.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is indeed a paradigmatic work in the history of science. Kuhn's use of terms such as "paradigm shift" and "normal science," his ideas of how scientists move from disdain through doubt to acceptance of a new theory, his stress on social and psychological factors in science--all have had profound effects on historians, scientists, philosophers, critics, writers, business gurus, and even the cartoonist in the street.

Some scientists (such as Steven Weinberg and Ernst Mayr) are profoundly irritated by Kuhn, especially by the doubts he casts--or the way his work has been used to cast doubt--on the idea of scientific progress. Yet it has been said that the acceptance of plate tectonics in the 1960s, for instance, was sped by geologists' reluctance to be on the downside of a paradigm shift. Even Weinberg has said that "Structure has had a wider influence than any other book on the history of science." As one of Kuhn's obituaries noted, "We all live in a post-Kuhnian age." --Mary Ellen Curtin

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An analysis of the history of science. Its publication was a landmark event in the sociology of knowledge, and popularized the terms paradigm and paradigm shift.

(summary from another edition)

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