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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition Paperback – April 30, 2012

ISBN-13: 860-1300156835 ISBN-10: 0226458121 Edition: Fourth Edition
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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 (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,457 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

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 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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39 of 49 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.

For feedback or questions, please respond in the Comment section below...I would be glad to help. If I have helped you please let me know.
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18 of 24 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JWolf on June 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a whole, Kuhn's writing can often be a difficult read, but only because it is so well orchestrated that each word falls into the right place in order to provide the closest relationship between his intention and our reception. I can't recommend reading this book unless you have some understanding of scientific experimentation and research. If you fall into the researcher category, you should be required to read it.

If you are considering this book, I recommend prompting yourself with some sort of summary or background before doing so; I found help from both Wikipedia as well as "the amazing world of psychiatry"--the latter is a website where a doctor reviews the book while also providing insight on the ideas. Without having certain ideas explained by these sources, I would have had considerable difficulty getting my mind into the right perspective to understand Kuhn's messages.

In general, I am extremely grateful to have been introduced to this work, I may have never known it's importance to the history of science had I not read it. Throughout the read, I often found myself shocked at the revelations Kuhn made about science; I had never considered looking at science from his perspective, but now I feel humbled because he has enabled me to do so with far more objectivity and understanding. The book also reached me on another level where I found myself examining everything from Kuhn's point-of-view.

Lastly, I have to address the idea that Kuhn's writing is often perceived as philosophy. It would seem to be true, however anyone would be greatly challenged to find something in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" that is subjective. In some ways, this can be taken with a grain of salt, but his "philosophy" is beyond important to anyone involved in scientific research and/or writing.
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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition
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