It is possible that no book written in the last 50 years has had an influence as profound and far-reaching as Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
. Kuhn's argument that scientific knowledge does not develop cumulatively, but rather proceeds by a series of "paradigm shifts," captivated not only philosophers of science, but scholars in a wide range of academic disciplines. The Road Since Structure
is a follow-up to his landmark work and a look at Kuhn's theory since the book's original publication in 1962.
In keeping with Kuhn's wishes (he died in 1996), editors James Conant and John Haugeland organized The Road Since Structure to include 11 philosophical essays written since 1970. In the first part of the book, Kuhn spells out his theory as it developed in the 1980s and 1990s; in the second part, he replies to a number of criticisms and misreadings. The third section is a fascinating interview with Kuhn conducted less than a year before he died. For general interest readers, the lengthy interview--in which Kuhn candidly and engagingly discusses the trials and tribulations of his life and philosophical career--will probably be the most interesting part of the book. For those attuned to Kuhn's controversial work, The Road Since Structure is an indispensable aid for understanding his theory as it developed and for appreciating the full force of his replies to a host of critical objections. As always, Kuhn's clarity and fluid prose render accessible a field fraught with opaque writing. --Eric de Place
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From Scientific American
The title refers to Kuhn's seminal The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Published in 1962, in which he argued that the history of science is not gradual and Cumulative but instead is punctuated by a series of more or less radical "paradigm shifts." The new book reprints 11 essays in which Kuhn defends, develops and, in some cases, modifies the views he put forward in Structure. Trained as a physicist, Kuhn as a young man turned his interest to the history and philosophy of science. He discussed that change in an absorbing three-day interview that he had with three Greek scholars in 1995, the year before he died. "I think I would have been a damn good physicist," he remarked, but increasingly the field seemed to him to be "fairly dull, the work was not interesting." Of Structure, he said: "I wanted it to be an important book; clearly it was being an important book--I didn't like most of the ways in which it was being an important book." And, surprisingly for such an influential writer, he said that he had always found it "very hard to write."
EDITORS OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
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