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Request for help: Structure of Sci Revs, 50 years later

I may be agreeing to write a relatively short article — 1,500-2,500 words — on the fiftieth anniversary of Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. What sources and effects should an article about that book’s legacy simply not miss?

Thanks for whatever help you can give helping me avoid missing something obvious.

One Response to “Request for help: Structure of Sci Revs, 50 years later”

  1. First, and most importantly, it made “paradigm” paradigmatic — of how to describe collective research effort. Before that, little research efforts just incremented knowledge: post-Kuhn, qualitative leaps were possible.

    Second, and ironically, the paradigm also became a paradigm for pervasive relativism which alas was not what Kuhn was after. Qualitative leaps did not mean ‘anything goes’. Enter post-modernity!

    Third, while Lakatos worked heroically to meld the qualitative leaps of Kuhn (paradigm shifts) with good old Popperian science (steady falsificationism), it was Foucalt and the french school of sciecne (eg Bachelard) who pushed this into the discipline of “history and philosophy of science” which popped up in both Humanities and Science faculties. Now both logics of science and practices in laboratories were all up for scrutiny.

    Finally, and what irony! look how we talk of internet as socialising knowledge – all the way to citizen science and open data etc. Now we seem to be back to the very incrementalism that Kuhn sought to dissolve as an illusion in textbooks. Can there be paradigmatic shifts in such dense networks of knowledge we now have on the internet?


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