Why did Kuhn's structure of scientific revolutions cause a fuss

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Abstract

After the publication of The structure of scientific revolutions, Kuhn attempted to fend off accusations of extremism by explaining that his allegedly “relativist” theory is little more than the mundane analytical apparatus common to most historians. The appearance of radicalism is due to the novelty of applying this machinery to the history of science. This defence fails, but it provides an important clue. The claim of this paper is that Kuhn inadvertently allowed features of his procedure and experience as an historian to pass over into his general account of science. Kuhn’s familiar claims, that science is directed in part by extra-scientific influences; that the history of science is divided by revolutionary breaks into periods that cannot be easily compared; that there is no ahistorical standard of rationality by which past episodes may be judged; and that science cannot be shown to be heading towards the Truth—these now appear as methodological commitments rather than historico–philosophical theses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-390
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Volume34
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003

Keywords

  • Philosophy

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