The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition Fourth Edition
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“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
, National Post (Canada)
About the Author
- Item Weight : 12.2 ounces
- Paperback : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0226458121
- ISBN-13 : 978-0226458120
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : University of Chicago Press; Fourth Edition (April 30, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #9,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", initially printed in 1962, is an examination of the historical backdrop of science. At the time of its circulation, it unsettled a couple of plumes, and keeps on doing as such today. In this book, Kuhn challenges the regular view that experimental advancement happens by the amassing of learning, prompting the improvement of acknowledged truths and hypotheses. He contends for a model whereby times of "ordinary science" are hindered by times of progressive science. It is amid such times of transformation that the advancement of experimental hypothesis happens. Kuhn portends that a standard transformation happens, whereby the tenets of examination and the bearing of exploration change, and new inquiries are asked of past information.
One sample that Thomas Kuhn utilizes as a part of his book is the Copernican Revolution. This alludes to the ideal model transformation from the Ptolemaic model of the sky, which proposed the Earth at the middle of the world, towards the heliocentric model with the Sun at the core of our Solar System. While Copernicus initially set forward this model, it was just until Galileo presented his speculations concerning movement that the heliocentric model turned into an acknowledged reality.
I wouldn't prescribe this book for the normal reader : its truly a scholastic book and there is a great deal to get your head around. By and by, I discovered this an extremely troublesome book to peruse; notwithstanding, it did get me contemplating experimental exploration and how we go about it. It is a book I accept I will return to every now and then and increase a tad bit more information every time I do. I think it would be perfect for a scientist who has an enthusiasm for logic and/or history. IJAZ DURRANI
For example, prior to the invention of the telescope, the celestial sphere was viewed as fundamentally different from the earthly sphere. But a simple look at the moon in Galileo's telescope reveals it to be a body that is very similar to the Earth. It has mountains which cast shadows as the light moves across them, and so on.
The "moon" must now be be viewed as a rather different concept, and this new conception is invoked every time one looks at it. This new "paradigm" affects other observations, such as those of Jupiter and Saturn. They are not pure, static points of light like stars, and some color and a circular shape can be see with the new telescope. Must they be bodies like that of the Moon or Earth as well?
In the book, as Kuhn presents his analysis, it seems we are also taking a deep look at epistemology, and the subtleties and differences between how something is perceived and how it is conceived. Grounded in the historical narrative of scientific advancement, I found this investigation of those difficult and elusive topics to be more enlightening than usual.
I believe that some criticize Kuhn for how sharp and discontinuous he describes his paradigm shifts to be (although I haven't looked at this closely yet, I may be mistaken). For me, this was not a main point. I enjoyed his detailed analysis of how paradigms change in general, and why this is a more accurate description of how science progresses, compared to additive models.
What I don’t understand is the relevancy. I know that he mentions how scientific textbooks present the history of a science as linear and building towards and end goal. He mentions that there probably is no end-goal—no final, perfect truth. Does this matter to a scientist, solving “normal” science puzzles? (I guess that’s an unfair question to ask anything involving philosophy.) I wish I could have read this when it came out, and what Kuhn was claiming was revolutionary itself.
Top reviews from other countries
It is not easy though. Structure addresses academic scientists and philosophers. In particular he confronts the ideas and propositions of Karl Popper. Some familiarity with physics and chemistry will be required.
It has dated a little. Throughout Kuhn refers to scientists as men, not so strange in the 1960s. He holds a very “western view” of science, too. He accords to the practice and its practitioners a respect that has dimmed somewhat in the years since. Certainly today we are not so comfortable with the notion that science best manages itself. Nonetheless Kuhn’s ideas remain as important as they are challenging.
Students are likely to encounter Structures on philosophy courses and as part of a taught programme it will easier to understand. It should appeal to graduates and undergraduates in the natural sciences especially. Kuhn himself tells us that in his own days as a student and then professor he found textbooks useful training manuals for physics, chemistry etc but inadequate in other ways. They misrepresented the history of their discipline and misconstrued how it reached its current point and how it would progress in the future. That was the 1940s and 1950s – have current texts been adapted as he suggested? Something readers today could usefully consider.
The popularization of key ideas in Structure should be viewed with caution. Concepts such as paradigm have been transferred all too loosely into other domains. Furthermore, it would be false to see Kuhn as a "voice of the 60s" or to suggest that he was debunking technology and rationality. This edition has a useful introduction by Ian Hacking which supplies a corrective to such notions and valuable context.
This book transcends disciplines. An important work of philosophy, yes, but it should not be them it is limited to. If there is one work outside their field I could make every scientist read, it would be this.
If you found this review useful in any way I’d be super grateful if you clicked the “helpful” button below to let me know :)
This is one of the most important book for understanding how science progresses and the structure of its history. It’s essential reading for philosophy students or those with an interest in the foundations of science.
This book prompted the shift away from seeing the subject as a linear progression and toward the view that it moves forward via ‘paradigm shifts’ in understanding.
The book is very clear, insightful, logical and at the same time easy to read, which cannot be said for many great philosophical work and a testament to Kuhn’s clear thinking. Whilst not every part of his argument is successful the fact that his views remain a live debate in philosophy classes to this day, show how important this work is, in this area of western thought.