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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [Paperback]

Thomas S. Kuhn
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 4.1 out of 5 stars (75)
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Book Description

April 1 1970 Foundations of Unity of Science
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is a landmark in intellectual history which has attracted attention far beyond its own immediate field. It is written with a combination of depth and clarity that make it an almost unbroken series of aphorisms. Its author, Thomas S. Kuhn, wastes little time on demolishing the logical empiricist view of science as an objective progression toward the truth. Instead he erects from ground up a structure in which science is seen to be heavily influenced by nonrational procedures, and in which new theories are viewed as being more complex than those they usurp but not as standing any closer to the truth. Science is not the steady, cumulative acquisition of knowledge that is portrayed in the textbooks. Rather, it is a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions . . . in each of which one conceptual world view is replaced by another.

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Since the publication of this book in 1962, Kuhn's writings (and many of his ideas, such as "paradigm shift") have been highly influential in academic and popular discourse. This book is must-reading for anyone studying the history and philosophy of science specifically, or cultural or technological change generally.

About the Author

Thomas S. Kuhn was the Laurence Rockefeller Professor Emeritus of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His books include The Essential Tension; Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894-1912; and The Copernican Revolution.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Buddy, Can You Paradigm? Oct. 15 2001
An influential work in the history and philosophy of science, this book serves as a source for the popular use of the term "paradigm." A paradigm consists of the "disciplinary matrix" of science: the framework of assumptions, beliefs, values, and techniques that define a field at a particular time. The term is also used to refer to particular problem situations that exemplify this framework and through which a science is learned by its practitioners. "Normal" science progresses, according to Kuhn, by elaborating a particular paradigm. When "puzzle solving" within a paradigm can no longer account for significant 'facts', a scientific revolution can occur, involving the birth of a new paradigm. Kuhn's views hint at those enunciated earlier by Alfred Korzybski, e.g., "logical fate" and "abstracting." Korzybski saw what Kuhn called "scientific revolutions" as exemplars or paradigms of human progress. Could scientific revolutions become more "normal" if scientists became more aware of their guiding paradigms, more conscious of abstracting?
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By A Customer
I've always seen Kuhn as a middle ground between Popper and Feyerabend (Someone who took Kuhn's idea about society and personality influencing science, and ran with it) for the most part. I think Popper is a better writer, Feyerabend says more interesting and though provoking things, but if you want something approaching a synthesis of the falsifiability doctrine and the social dynamic way of looking at things, Kuhn, and this book by Kuhn is essential.
This is where people who outgrow Gould and Dawkins should be coming. It's more dry, and less populist than these two, but it provides for a deeper understanding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not different from the second edition. Oct. 28 1998
By A Customer
The 3rd ed. (1996) is, with the exception of a two page index, identical to the 2nd ed. (1970). I can find no differences between the two versions, save that short index.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightning! Jan. 20 1998
By A Customer
Kuhn does a fantastic job outlining the chaotic backward and forward leaps involved in the advancement of the religion we call Science. Truely enlightning!
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