- 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: 438 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,796 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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"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.