Thomas S. Kuhn's classic book is now available with a new index.
"A landmark in intellectual history which has attracted attention far
beyond its own immediate field. . . . It is written with a combination
of depth and clarity that make it an almost unbroken series of
aphorisms. . . . 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, [this book] has been a resounding success." --Nicholas Wade,
"Perhaps the best explanation of [the] process of discovery." --William
Erwin Thompson, New York Times Book Review
"Occasionally there emerges a book which has an influence far beyond its
originally intended audience. . . . Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of
Scientific Revolutions . . . has clearly emerged as just such a
work." --Ron Johnston, Times Higher Education Supplement
"Among the most influential academic books in this century." --
--One of "The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the Second World
War," Times Literary Supplement
Thomas S. Kuhn was the Laurence Rockefeller Professor Emeritus 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
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