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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition Fourth Edition Edition

117 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 860-1300156835
ISBN-10: 0226458121
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Editorial Reviews

Review


“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.”

(Guardian)

“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.”

(Science)

About the Author

Thomas S. Kuhn (1922–96) was the Laurence Rockefeller Professor 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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Fourth Edition edition (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226458121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226458120
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,377 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

59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on September 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a practicing scientist and someone who has always been interested in history and the development of scientific ideas "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" has for long time been the book that loomed large on my intellectual horizon. Thomas Kuhn's book has for a long time had a reputation as the definitive and seminal work on understanding how new scientific ideas come about and how and why they gain support. Part of my reluctance to start reading this book stemmed from my belief that it would be an overly philosophical work, with a lot of opaque technical jargon, and with very little relevance to actual scientific practice. However, to my great surprise and delight, nothing could be farther from the truth. This book is written in a very matter-of-fact style, and it is easy to understand what Kuhn is getting at. His own background in science and history of science probably made him very sensitive to the working and thinking of practicing scientists.

The insights that Kuhn has arrived at are still relevant almost half a century after this book has been published. The idea of "paradigm shifts" has even entered the mainstream consciousness, to the point that it can be caricatured in various cartoons and silly t-shirts. However, after reading this book it is not quite clear to me whether Khun wanted this to be a description of the way that science works, or more of a normative prescription for how to arrive at truly fundamental changes in some scientific discipline. This is particularly relevant for disciplines or directions of research that seem to have gotten stuck in some dead end, as has been the case with particle physics for several decades.
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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful By C. V. May TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I do agree with the reviewer that heartily disagreed with a critical reviewer's estimate of Kuhn's work in question here as "puerile." Something here reeks of a seething academic envy to me. Kuhn was able to show precisely how and why scientific revolutions evolve as they do. I cut my teeth on this book as a grad student. I was impressed mightily then, and I remain impressed now. Even the word "paradigm," part of Kuhn's signature term "paradigm shift," became popularized and has gone mainstream only to be generally misused by the illiterate that have no idea how the term came into everyday parlance, nor do they understand its proper usage in received diction.

Kuhn's little masterwork is viable still. My admiration for him is viable still. The man had high insight and the guts to publish his observations. Somehow, I neglected to have my children read it, but now I shall belatedly recommend it to them.

Read it and benefit from it.

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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Shane Hopkinson on June 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
What an excellent oppotunity to revisit this book and to have Ian Hacking write an essay for it means I am ordering it today. I wanted to draw people's attention to Guy Robinson's work, someone not well known, but who has drawn out some of the implications of Kuhn's work in a series of essays called Philosophy and Mystification. Kuhn expressed the view in correspondence to Guy that "You've seen to an almost unprecedented extent what I've been up to. I couldn't have identified my position so clearly at the time I wrote Structure." Someone has put some of Guy's essays on line including the key one 'On Misunderstanding Science' [...]

Enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dean R. Snow on December 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kuhn' book is one of the great contributions to science. It first appeared in 1962, the year I started graduate school. I read it then, and now,fifty years later and on the cusp of retirement, I have read the new annivesary edition. I hope that my own body of work will hold up as well. Kuhn informs about how science works and, just as important, how scientists really work. There is no substitute for the scientific method, and so far no substitute for Thomas Kuhn's greatest work.
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39 of 55 people found the following review helpful By David Butler on December 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Science without Measurements
A review of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
50th Anniversary Edition
By David Butler

I am a retired computer scientist educated in math and physics with a Master of Science degree from Oxford University where I studied the mathematical foundations for quantum mechanics in the early 1970s. One of my sons is a PhD student studying the philosophy of religion. He told me that he read a book that shows science is not an accumulative endeavor leading closer and closer to the true nature of the physical world. This went against what I had come to believe, so I had to read the book: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn.

At first I didn't know what to make of it. I was struck by Kuhn's negativity towards scientists (puzzle solver, slaves, addicts, etc.). But there was a deeper message in his story that I wanted to understand, so I put the derogatory comments aside. What I found was a very interesting attempt to put science on the same footing as other disciplines. Let me explain.

Science is the systematic study of nature. Nature is its anchor. It constrains theories. It judges paradigms. It is an absolute task master. And its secrets are extremely hard to unravel. Over time, engineering advances have created new instruments and improved their sensitivity: the telescope, the microscope, the spectrascope, colliders, MRI machines, etc. These instruments reveal more and more of nature's secrets. And as they do, old paradigms are lost, and new paradigms are created to explain the new phenomena. But science sets up previous paradigms as boundary conditions via Bohr's `Correspondence Principle'.
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