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Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact

ISBN-10: 0226253252

ISBN-13: 9780226253251

Edition: 1981

Authors: Ludwik Fleck, Thaddeus J. Trenn, Robert K. Merton, Frederick Bradley, Thomas S. Kuhn

List price: $28.00
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Description:

Originally published in German in 1935, this monograph anticipated solutions to problems of scientific progress, the truth of scientific fact and the role of error in science now associated with the work of Thomas Kuhn and others. Arguing that every scientific concept and theory--including his own--is culturally conditioned, Fleck was appreciably ahead of his time. And as Kuhn observes in his foreword, "Though much has occurred since its publication, it remains a brilliant and largely unexploited resource." "To many scientists just as to many historians and philosophers of science facts are things that simply are the case: they are discovered through properly passive observation of natural reality. To such views Fleck replies that facts are invented, not discovered. Moreover, the appearance of scientific facts as discovered things is itself a social construction, a made thing. A work of transparent brilliance, one of the most significant contributions toward a thoroughly sociological account of scientific knowledge."--Steven Shapin, Science
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Book details

List price: $28.00
Copyright year: 1981
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 8/15/1981
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 232
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.770

Thomas S. Kuhn's work is best described as a normative historiography of science. He was educated at Harvard University, where in 1949 he completed a doctorate in physics. As a student, he was impressed by the differences between scientific method, as conventionally taught, and the way science actually works. Before moving to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979, he taught at Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Princeton University. Kuhn's most celebrated contribution to the philosophy of science is his controversial idea of paradigms and paradigm shifts. A paradigm is understood as a widely shared theoretical framework within which scientific research is conducted. According to Kuhn, science normally develops more or less smoothly within such a paradigm until an accumulation of difficulties reduces its effectiveness. The paradigm finally breaks down in a crisis, which is followed by the formation of a radically new paradigm in a so-called scientific revolution. The new paradigm is accepted, even though it might neither resolve all of the accumulated difficulties nor explain the data better than the older paradigm that it replaces. We find examples of paradigm shifts in the work of Copernicus, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and others. Since its original publication in 1962, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions undoubtedly has been the single most influential book in the philosophy of science.

Foreword
Preface
Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact Overview of Contents Prologue
How the Modern Concept of Syphilis Originated Epistemological Conclusions from the Established History of a Concept Established History ofnbsp;a Concept
The Wassermann Reaction and Its Discovery Epistemological Considerations Concerning the History of the Wassermann Reaction Commentary and Annotation Biographical Sketch Descriptive Analysis
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Illustrations