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The structure of scientific revolutions Paperback – 1 Jan 1962

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Jan 1962
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Product details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago U.P (1962)
  • ASIN: B0000CLRKU
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,805,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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."" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Format: Paperback
When I undertook to read this great classic I expected it to be a book about the history of science, but I ended up reading a philosophy of science treatise. But I have to say that I am in complete agreement with almost everything Kuhn says about the process of scientific discovery. So much so that I did not have the impression of learning a great deal because everything Kuhn said in his famous essay was already integrated to my own view of the evolution of science. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the notion of paradigm in science is very well known today, to the point that various authors now take it for granted.

If I don't have any problems with what Kuhn says, I do have problems with the language he uses, which is very formal. This essay is way too academic for my taste. It gave me the impression to have been written for peers rather than the general public. And that is the main reason why I did not give it the full five-star rating it deserves. And the book is also a bit dated. It was originally published in 1962 and was partly based on ideas he had developed as early as 1949. And the way science is practiced today has considerably evolved since that time. But the basic premises still remain valid today. For most scientists the idea that science is a human endeavour fraught with subjective considerations and non-linear progress must be hard to swallow. As for the philosophers of science I think they have taken this book way too seriously. They generally have a tendency to focus on the individual trees and therefore cannot see the forest. Because of that they seem to have had difficulty to put Kuhn's ideas together into a meaningful whole.

If there is one weakness to this book it is a lack of differentiation between the various paradigms of science.
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Format: Paperback
Thomas S. Kuhn wrote this classic work in the early `60's. He sought to describe how scientific revolutions occur. The `60's were famous for numerous social revolutions, most notably in improving the status of blacks and women in our society. Books such as Charles Reich's The Greening of America rather famously made predictions on the direction of permanent social changes in America that never reached fruition. His book is now in that proverbial "dustbin of history." Kuhn's book is far more notable, and enduring, for providing a paradigm, as it were, on how shifts in scientific perception occur. The "as it were" refers to the fact that Kuhn is credited with first using the phrase "paradigm shift."

Kuhn postulates that there is a model, or paradigm, if you will, called "normal science." Virtually the entire scientific (and even non-scientific) community subscribe to this model. The role of a scientist operating within the normal parameters of a given paradigm is to "tweak" the model; that is, make further advances in our collective knowledge, but within the model's framework. But there always seem to be anomalies to a given explanation of the natural world, and the anomalies can mount, and seem to reach a "critical mass," (itself an expression from another paradigm shift), and eventually the entire paradigm is "shifted" to a new one. Certainly one of the most famous examples, cited by Kuhn, is the revolution in our thinking about our place in the universe, which was led by Galileo and Copernicus. Prior to this revolution, the standard model was that the earth was the center of the universe, with the sun, moon, and all the stars circling it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seminal book, read this as a teen and needed a copy for the book shelf. It's a quick read and if you're considering it then get a hold of a copy for the afternoon. IIRC it coined the phrase paradigm shift.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
Amazing book that will change your view on science establishment. It talks about all those questions that are asked regarding scientific stubbornness. Read it it is enriching.
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