Essential Tension Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change

ISBN-10: 0226458067

ISBN-13: 9780226458069

Edition: 1977

Authors: Thomas S. Kuhn

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"Kuhn has the unmistakable address of a man, who, so far from wanting to score points, is anxious above all else to get at the truth of matters."—Sir Peter Medawar, Nature
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Book details

List price: $34.00
Copyright year: 1977
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 3/15/1979
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 390
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

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.

Preface
Historiographic Studies
The Relations between the History and the Philosophy of Science
Concepts of Cause in the Development of Physics
Mathematical versus Experimental Traditions in the Development of Physical Science
Energy Conservation as an Example of Simultaneous Discovery
The History of Science
The Relations between History and the History of Science
Metahistorical Studies
The Historical Structure of Scientific Discovery
The Function of Measurement in Modern Physical Science
The Essential Tension: Tradition and Innovation in Scientific Research?
A Function for Thought Experiments
Logic of Discovery or Psychology of Research
Second Thoughts on Paradigms
Objectivity, Value Judgment, and Theory Choice
Comment on the Relations of Science and Art
Index
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