The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 1st Edition

32 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226458076
ISBN-10: 0226458075
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

Review

Since Kuhn does not permit truth to be a criterion of scientific theories, he would presumably not claim his own theory to be true. But if causing a revolution is the hallmark of a superior paradigm, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions has been a resounding success. -- Nicholas Wade --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 226 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (December 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226458075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226458076
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996)was professor emeritus of philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His many books include The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894-1912, both published by the University of Chicago Press.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 1996
Format: Paperback
I read this book almost 30 years ago and still consider it one of the most profound texts I have read. It gives genuine insight into fundamental beliefs. I still cringe when I hear TQM speakers talk about paradigm shifts. People don't change paradigms like a pair of glasses, they change them about as easily as they might change into a new set of eyes. Persons of accomplishment have gotten where they are by mastering skills that fit into their understanding of the world around themselves. Is it so difficult to understand that they would be hesitant to start looking at the world in a new way and deny the world that gives value to their achievements. This is not a book about psychology. It is a book about the unavoidable consequences a being logical creatures. You really do need to read this book
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 1998
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Seet on August 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
Thomas Kuhn, through the concept of paradigm shift, has demythologized science as an accumulation of knowledge through smooth progress. That, for Kuhn, is just normal science, the incremental progress within the limits, biases and assumptions of a paradigm. For him, a paradigm is a set of accepted practices within the scientific community, the scientific traditions the scientists have grown up with. For him, "The success of a paradigm... is at the start largely a promise of success discoverable in selected and still incomplete examples. And "Normal science consists in the actualization of that promise."

Though Thomas Kuhn focused on the Copernican Revolution, for me the Quantum Revolution is a more poignant example of paradigm shift. And the latter, like the former, starts with inexplicable phenomena. When the traditional electromagnetic theory of Maxwell's Equations couldn't explain black body radiation, Boltzmann and then Plank developed a set of equations with quantized energy levels to explain the phenomena. Later, Niels Bohr formulated the quantized levels of atoms to explain their discrete emissions.

As Kuhn says, "When, in the development of a natural science, an individual or group first produces a synthesis able to attract most of the next generation's practitioners, the older schools gradually disappear." In this case, Bohr persuaded his colleagues about the new view and pushed quantum mechanics into the forefront, securing it as the dominant theory in modern physics. But there were oppositions. Even Einstein, who proposed the quantization of light, could not accept the probabilistic nature of matter-energy as described by the Uncertainty Principle. For him, "God does not play dice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fei Yang on October 15, 2010
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This is a classical book on scientific philosophy. How this book changed the world does not need my complimnet. The only reason I gives it four rather than five is because I highly recommend the newest version.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2012
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
Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922-1996) was an American physicist, historian, and philosopher of science, who taught at Harvard, UC Berkeley, and MIT. He wrote other books such as The Road since Structure: Philosophical Essays, 1970-1993, with an Autobiographical Interview, The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought, The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to the original 1962 edition, “The essay that follows is the first full published report on a project originally conceived almost fifteen years ago… an experimental college course treating physical science for the non-scientist provided my first exposure to the history of science… that exposure to out-of-date scientific theory and practice radically undermined some of my basic conceptions about the nature of science…” (Pg. v) He continues, “[In} 1958-1959 … I was able to give undivided attention to the problems discussed below… I was struck by the number and extent of the overt disagreements between social scientists about the nature of legitimate scientific problems and methods… Attempting to discover the source of that difference led me to recognize the role in scientific research of what I have since called ‘paradigms.’ These I take to be universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners.” (Pg.
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