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Thomas Kuhn and the paradigm shift – Philosopher of the Month

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Thomas S. Kuhn (1922–1996) was an American historian and philosopher of science best-known for his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), which influenced social sciences and theories of knowledge. He is widely considered one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century.Kuhn was born in in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Samuel Lewis Kuhn, an industrial engineer, and Minette Stroock Kuhn. He obtained his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and PhD in physics from Harvard University. While completing his PhD, he worked as a teaching assistant for Harvard President James B. Conant, who designed and taught the general education history of science courses. This experience allowed Kuhn to switch from physics to the study of the history and philosophy of science. From 1948 until 1956, Kuhn taught a course in the history of science at Harvard. Subsequently he taught at the University of California at Berkeley, then at Princeton University, and finally at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) where from 1982 until the end of his academic career in 1991 he was the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy and History of Science.In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Kuhn challenged the prevailing philosophical views of the logical empiricists about the development of scientific knowledge and introduced the notion of the scientific paradigm. He argued that science does not progress in a linear and consistent fashion via an accumulation of knowledge, but proceeds within a scientific paradigm – a set of fundamental theoretical assumptions that guides the direction of inquiry, determines the standard of truth and defines a scientific discipline at any particular period of time. He used the term “normal science” to describe scientific research that operates in accordance with the dominant paradigm.Khun believed that normal science can be interrupted by periods of revolutionary science when old scientific theory and method. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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