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The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions

By: Hanne Andersen, Peter Barker and Xiang Chen

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jul 2006 | #161408 | ISBN: 0521855756
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £66.99 $82/€75 approx

About this book

Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions became the most widely read book about science in the twentieth century. His terms 'paradigm' and 'scientific revolution' entered everyday speech, but they remain controversial. In the second half of the twentieth century, the new field of cognitive science combined empirical psychology, computer science, and neuroscience. In this book, the recent theories of concepts developed by cognitive scientists are used to evaluate and extend Kuhn's most influential ideas. Based on case studies of the Copernican revolution, the discovery of nuclear fission, and an elaboration of Kuhn's famous 'ducks and geese' example of concept learning, the volume offers new accounts of the nature of normal and revolutionary science, the function of anomalies, and the nature of incommensurability.

Does the propsal for a newly cognitivized Kuhnian approach work? Can it offer the historian of science a useful set of tools? For thsi reviewer the answer is clearly Yes, though much remains to be done. Still given its richness and the clarity with which the case is argued, this is a work which will have to be dealt with. Cognitive science does offer historians tools for a new approachto the history of science, one that would have pleased Kuhn himself. - Ryan D. Tweney, Bowling Green State University


1. Revolutions in science and science studies; 2. Kuhn's theory of concepts; 3. Representing concepts by means of dynamic frames; 4. Scientific change; 5. Incommensurability; 6. The Copernican revolution; 7. Realism, history and cognitive studies of science.

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Peter Barker is professor of history of science at the University of Oklahoma. Hanne Andersen is professor of medical philosophy and clinical theory at the University of Copenhagen. Xiang Chen is associate professor of philosophy at California Lutheran University.

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