- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 3rd edition (December 15, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226458083
- ISBN-13: 978-0226458083
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 436 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 3rd Edition
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There's a "Frank & Ernest" comic strip showing a chick breaking out of its shell, looking around, and saying, "Oh, wow! Paradigm shift!" Blame the late Thomas Kuhn. Few indeed are the philosophers or historians influential enough to make it into the funny papers, but Kuhn is one.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is indeed a paradigmatic work in the history of science. Kuhn's use of terms such as "paradigm shift" and "normal science," his ideas of how scientists move from disdain through doubt to acceptance of a new theory, his stress on social and psychological factors in science--all have had profound effects on historians, scientists, philosophers, critics, writers, business gurus, and even the cartoonist in the street.
Some scientists (such as Steven Weinberg and Ernst Mayr) are profoundly irritated by Kuhn, especially by the doubts he casts--or the way his work has been used to cast doubt--on the idea of scientific progress. Yet it has been said that the acceptance of plate tectonics in the 1960s, for instance, was sped by geologists' reluctance to be on the downside of a paradigm shift. Even Weinberg has said that "Structure has had a wider influence than any other book on the history of science." As one of Kuhn's obituaries noted, "We all live in a post-Kuhnian age." --Mary Ellen Curtin
Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) argued that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions", and in those revolutions "one conceptual world view is replaced by another". The University of Chicago Press has released The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions to the benefit of all students of the history of science, philosophy, and the impact of science on society (and society on the development of science). If every there were a true classic on the history and development of science that is "must" reading for each new generation, it is Kuhn's benchmark work, The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions. -- Midwest Book Review
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Any student working on a Masters or PhD in any science ought to read this book for background.
This is the import of the book: while reading it, one begins to realize that as thorough and referenced it may be, it remains a very metaphoric model for the march of history within almost all disciplines, where the world of imagination somehow transforms our collective view and consequent mode of perception and action in all areas of life.
I, who am a musician by trade, had a particularized need to use the book to help understand the 20th century and its zeitgeist, post WWII especially. The world of science was, for that century, a seductive one and people of retentive intelligence found themselves enamored of its methods in their search for meaning post-holocaust and post-Hiroshima-Nagasaki.
As I sit at a computer in Japan writing this, the job of the 21st Century must be to begin to make sense of our collective recent history and to find the common threads that connect us all on the planet in constant global discussion on present issues as they present themselves.
The search for fresh perspectives is the real stuff of great science and we should feel compelled to race forward in search of them concerning our past. History will teach us, if we can understand and supercede it, as described so beautifully in Tom Kuhn's masterpiece.