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Thomas Samuel Kuhn

From Wikipedia


Thomas Kuhn was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Samuel L. Kuhn, an industrial engineer, and Minette Stroock Kuhn. He obtained his B.S. degree in physics from Harvard University in 1943, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics in 1946 and 1949, respectively. He later taught a course in the history of science at Harvard from 1948 until 1956 at the suggestion of university president James Conant. After leaving Harvard, Kuhn taught at the University of California, Berkeley, in both the philosophy department and the history department, being named Professor of the History of Science in 1961. At Berkeley, he wrote and published (in 1962) his best known and most influential work:[1] The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In 1964, he joined Princeton University as the M. Taylor Pyne Professor of Philosophy and History of Science. In 1979, he joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy, remaining there until 1991. Kuhn interviewed and taped Danish physicist Niels Bohr the day before Bohr’s death. The recording contains the last words of Niels Bohr caught on tape.[citation needed] In 1994, Kuhn was diagnosed with cancer of the bronchial tubes, of which he died in 1996.

Thomas Kuhn was married twice, first to Kathryn Muhs (with whom he had three children) and later to Jehane Barton (Jehane R. Kuhn).

In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (SSR), Kuhn argued that science does not progress via a linear accumulation of new knowledge, but undergoes periodic revolutions, also called “paradigm shifts” (although he did not coin the phrase),[2] in which the nature of scientific inquiry within a particular field is abruptly transformed. In general, science is broken up into three distinct stages. Prescience, which lacks a central paradigm, comes first. This is followed by “normal science“, when scientists attempt to enlarge the central paradigm by “puzzle-solving”. Thus, the failure of a result to conform to the paradigm is seen not as refuting the paradigm, but as the mistake of the researcher, contra Popper’s refutability criterion. As anomalous results build up, science reaches a crisis, at which point a new paradigm, which subsumes the old results along with the anomalous results into one framework, is accepted. This is termed revolutionary science.


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