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Kuhn Vs Popper [Hardcover]

Steve Fuller

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Book Description

May 27 2003 Revolutions in Science
In 1965 Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper met at the University of London to stage what has turned out to be the most momentous philosophical debate of the 20th century. At stake was no less than the soul of science itself...No discipline remained untouched by the consequences of this exchange. Was it really such a good thing that Kuhn's 'postmodernism' triumphed over Popper's 'positivism'? Kuhn vs. Popper is a provocative account of a landmark confrontation in which 'the wrong guy' won. A fantastically regarded author whom Icon are proud to have on board Touches upon every aspect of thinking about science in the 20th century Pacey, provocative and sure to receive media coverage

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books (May 27 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840464682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840464689
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,820,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Reading Steve Fuller is like reading Umberto Eco on speed." Jeff Hughes, University of Manchester

About the Author

Steve Fuller trained in the history and philosophy of science, and is now Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick.

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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sociological fluff July 29 2009
By Viktor Blasjo - Published on Amazon.com
This book is incoherent fluff. I do not have the patience to give more than one illustration of this very plain fact, so let us consider for example Chapter 8, which is called "So, why are philosophers of science pro-science?"

According to Fuller, "At work here is ... a relatively unnoticed legacy of Cold War science policy ... [which] encouraged the scientist to function less as a free agent who aims to transcend boundaries than a cognitive module who operates within strict parameters ... This ... was epitomised in Kuhn's valorisation of 'normal science'" (pp. 86-87).

Thus Fuller's answer to the title question is apparently that philosophers are pro-science because they aim to underwrite (or even "epitomise") certain societal values. But this is soon contradicted:

"From a psychiatric standpoint, the accounts of science put forward by the logical positivists and Kuhn ... were 'reaction formations' in response to traumas that had dealt severe blows to their normative ideal of science. The traumas were, respectively, the 20th century's two world wars. In response, they promoted excessively idealised visions of science that were the opposite of the tendencies they rejected in the science of their day. ... Kuhn responded to this situation much as the logical positivists had, namely, by never formally acknowledging the technological dimension of modern science" (p. 89).

So apparently philosophers were "traumatised" by the attitude that they themselves "epitomised." And not only did they epitomise it, they also "responded" to it by "promoting the opposite." Furthermore, they completely ignored the entire issue, as had every other philosopher of science before them for thousands of years. The natural way to explain this adherence to a millennia-old status quo is of course to postulate dramatic and unprecedented "traumas."

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