With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don't arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of "normal science", as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.
Note: This new edition of Kuhn's essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn's ideas to the science of today.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Isolde on 04-09-12
Essential reading for thoughtful people
This is a work which is often quoted, but probably less often read and understood. It introduced the term "paradigm shift" to our conceptual world, and was instrumental in shaping contemporary philosophy of science.
However, I feel it is overdue a return to prominence. I want current scientistic positivists (for example, Richard Dawkins) to read and deeply consider this essay. Its subtleties and cultural relevance have perhaps been forgotten of late.
This is a work which might be challenging for those unfamiliar with scientific or philosophical writing. I feel that the narrator doesn't understand what he is reading, and this can be very distracting in a work that is complex and involved. However, there is so little primary philosophical literature available as unabridged audiobook, especially from the 20th and 21st centuries, that we just have to take what we can get.
A must-read for anyone interested in philosophy or history of science.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mirek on 05-07-09
Important - not only for science
Thomas Kuhn's famous "Structure of Scientific Revolutions", today taken as classical text about the history of Science, is of amazing importance to understanding of the evolution of science.
Kuhn was the first who elucidated the concept of PARADIGM in a relation to science. Paradigm, which we should understand as a pattern of thought - rather than a theory or model, is the pervasive component of almost any human intellectual activity.
Kuhn proves that the evolution in science goes in a revolutionary way, by a process called "paradigm shift" which is usually abrupt and fast. One of the symptoms of the paradigm shift is the process of textbook rewriting - when the change appears to be unavoidable and untenable to the previous paradigm. Kuhn describes Copernican revolution, progress in chemistry, Newtonian physics, quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory or relativity as the key examples illustrating his concept.
Very good book - should not be too difficult to read even to those who did not practice science.
I think, there is also another reason to read it.
When reading it I could not avoid thinking about the another field of activity where we witness revolutions and paradigm shifts: the history of Web. The web grown to today's size, mostly between 1995 to 2000 - in just 6 years it has changed so much - media, knowledge ...
And, when we recall that the HTML was created in 1980, and HTTP in 1989 - we see that initially the old paradigm of communication was still prevailing. Until Netscape came with its killing application - the browser - and made the shift.
And I'm almost sure we are at the footsteps of another paradigm shift - that between today's web of documents and tomorrow's web of data (aka Semantic Web). Kuhn's book teaches us that it is not very easy to predict when will it happen, and that we probably will witness some dramatic changes. It also explains the latency with SW adoption.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful
By Maggie on 30-05-10
an excellent reading of an excellent book. wow. the information is timeless because the way humans think and process information are constant. Kuhn has captured the essence of the (complex) process by which we think, test, and alter what we think we know.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful