- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 50th anniversary ed edition (30 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226458121
- ISBN-13: 978-0226458120
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 80 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition Paperback – 30 Apr 2012
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"Like Thomas Kuhn, Ian Hacking has a gift for clear exposition. His introduction provides a helpful guide to some of the thornier philosophical issues. . . . We may still admire Kuhn's dexterity in broaching challenging ideas with a fascinating mix of examples from psychology, history, philosophy, and beyond. We need hardly agree with each of Kuhn's propositions to enjoy--and benefit from--this classic book."
--David Kaiser "Nature "
"The Structure of Scientific Revolutions did a gestalt flip on just about every assumption about the who, how, and what of scientific progress. . . . The book still vibrates our culture's walls like a trumpet call. History of science may not have become exactly what Kuhn thought it should, but The Structure of Scientific Revolutions knocked it off its existing tracks."
--Chronicle of Higher Education
"So long as there are still paradigms among us, the achievements of Thomas Kuhn will be remembered."
--National Post (Canada)
"One of the most influential books of the 20th century. . . . Singlehandedly changed the way we think about mankind's most organized attempt to understand the world."
"The Kuhnian image of science has reshaped our understanding of the scientific enterprise and human inquiry in general. If you haven't already read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the publication of this inexpensive 50th-anniversary edition offers a perfect excuse to do so."
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It is not easy though. Structure addresses academic scientists and philosophers. In particular he confronts the ideas and propositions of Karl Popper. Some familiarity with physics and chemistry will be required.
It has dated a little. Throughout Kuhn refers to scientists as men, not so strange in the 1960s. He holds a very “western view” of science, too. He accords to the practice and its practitioners a respect that has dimmed somewhat in the years since. Certainly today we are not so comfortable with the notion that science best manages itself. Nonetheless Kuhn’s ideas remain as important as they are challenging.
Students are likely to encounter Structures on philosophy courses and as part of a taught programme it will easier to understand. It should appeal to graduates and undergraduates in the natural sciences especially. Kuhn himself tells us that in his own days as a student and then professor he found textbooks useful training manuals for physics, chemistry etc but inadequate in other ways. They misrepresented the history of their discipline and misconstrued how it reached its current point and how it would progress in the future. That was the 1940s and 1950s – have current texts been adapted as he suggested? Something readers today could usefully consider.
The popularization of key ideas in Structure should be viewed with caution. Concepts such as paradigm have been transferred all too loosely into other domains. Furthermore, it would be false to see Kuhn as a "voice of the 60s" or to suggest that he was debunking technology and rationality. This edition has a useful introduction by Ian Hacking which supplies a corrective to such notions and valuable context.
This book transcends disciplines. An important work of philosophy, yes, but it should not be them it is limited to. If there is one work outside their field I could make every scientist read, it would be this.
This is how we do science and as a research scientist for now nearly 20 years it is certainly how I see science from the inside. This is not crank philosophy or something from the creationist movement, this is an intelligent discourse. It does not have any hidden relgious agenda. It just states that science is relativistic and science is relativistic, only very bad scientists would ever argue that they know the absolute truth.
More than this it is well written and accessible and it should be read much more widely. It certainly is a clearer view than Popper's and while they are different in some aspects they do not present a completely different view of science. Both agree that certainty does not exist.
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