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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 3rd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226458076
ISBN-10: 0226458075
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Editorial Reviews

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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; 3 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr Kuhn well establishes what brings about revolutions in thought, how they are fought against, who fights against them and how they ultimately succeed if proven true. The mechanisms of this change works on major topics such as Newtons Laws as well on the minute detail of any detail such as the orientation of the eye pupil in hunters versus prey which was recently in the news. It matters not the size of the revolution, it will work the same way.
Any student working on a Masters or PhD in any science ought to read this book for background.
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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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