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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (50th Anniversary Edition)

By: Thomas S Kuhn and Ian Hacking

217 pages, no illustrations

University of Chicago Press

Paperback | Apr 2012 | Edition: 4 | #196227 | ISBN-13: 9780226458120
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NHBS Price: £9.50 $12/€11 approx
Hardback | May 2012 | Edition: 4 | #196228 | ISBN-13: 9780226458113
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About this book

A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were-and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach.

With "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don't arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of "normal science", as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.

This new edition of Kuhn's essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn's ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking's introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.

Thomas S. Kuhn didn't invent the phrase paradigm shift, but he popularized it and gave it the meaning it has today. He also triggered one when he published 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions' in 1962.... After Kuhn, we can no longer ignore the fact that however powerful science is, it's as flawed as the scientists who do it.
- Time, All-Time 100 Best Nonfiction Books

"Occasionally there emerges a book which has an influence far beyond its originally intended audience.... Thomas S. Kuhn's 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions'... has clearly emerged as just such a work."
- Ron Johnston, Times Higher Education Supplement

"The book really did change 'the image of science by which we are now possessed.' Forever."
- Ian Hacking, from the Introduction

"Perhaps the best explanation of the process of discovery."
- William Irwin Thompson, New York Times Book Review

"A landmark in intellectual history which has attracted attention far beyond its own immediate field.... If causing a revolution is the hallmark of a superior paradigm, 'Structure' has been a resounding success."
- Nicholas Wade, Science

"Among the most influential academic books in this century."
- Choice


Introductory Essay by Ian Hacking

I. Introduction: A Role for History
II. The Route to Normal Science
III. The Nature of Normal Science
IV. Normal Science as Puzzle-solving
V. The Priority of Paradigms
VI. Anomaly and the Emergence of Scientific evolutions
VII. Crisis and the Emergence of Scientific Theories
VIII. The Response to Crisis
IX. The Nature and Necessity of Scientific Revolutions
X. Revolutions as Changes of World View
XI. The Invisibility of Revolutions
XII. The Resolution of Revolutions
XIII. Progress through Revolutions


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Thomas S. Kuhn (1922-96) was the Laurence Rockefeller Professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His books include "The Essential Tension"; "Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894-1912"; and "The Copernican Revolution".

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