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38 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Thought Provoking, Relevant, Readable 2 septembre 2012
Par Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Publié sur
Format: Broché
As a practicing scientist and someone who has always been interested in history and the development of scientific ideas "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" has for long time been the book that loomed large on my intellectual horizon. Thomas Kuhn's book has for a long time had a reputation as the definitive and seminal work on understanding how new scientific ideas come about and how and why they gain support. Part of my reluctance to start reading this book stemmed from my belief that it would be an overly philosophical work, with a lot of opaque technical jargon, and with very little relevance to actual scientific practice. However, to my great surprise and delight, nothing could be farther from the truth. This book is written in a very matter-of-fact style, and it is easy to understand what Kuhn is getting at. His own background in science and history of science probably made him very sensitive to the working and thinking of practicing scientists.

The insights that Kuhn has arrived at are still relevant almost half a century after this book has been published. The idea of "paradigm shifts" has even entered the mainstream consciousness, to the point that it can be caricatured in various cartoons and silly t-shirts. However, after reading this book it is not quite clear to me whether Khun wanted this to be a description of the way that science works, or more of a normative prescription for how to arrive at truly fundamental changes in some scientific discipline. This is particularly relevant for disciplines or directions of research that seem to have gotten stuck in some dead end, as has been the case with particle physics for several decades.

Whether you are a practicing scientist, someone interested in science, or someone who would like to know more about how scientific breakthroughs happen you'll greatly benefit from reading this book. You may not agree with Khun's every conclusion, but the longevity of the ideas presented here makes them relevant for every serious discussion about scientific endeavor.
33 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Thomas Kuhn's Small Book Is a Big Deal 5 avril 2012
Par C.V. May - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I do agree with the reviewer that heartily disagreed with a critical reviewer's estimate of Kuhn's work in question here as "puerile." Something here reeks of a seething academic envy to me. Kuhn was able to show precisely how and why scientific revolutions evolve as they do. I cut my teeth on this book as a grad student. I was impressed mightily then, and I remain impressed now. Even the word "paradigm," part of Kuhn's signature term "paradigm shift," became popularized and has gone mainstream only to be generally misused by the illiterate that have no idea how the term came into everyday parlance, nor do they understand its proper usage in received diction.

Kuhn's little masterwork is viable still. My admiration for him is viable still. The man had high insight and the guts to publish his observations. Somehow, I neglected to have my children read it, but now I shall belatedly recommend it to them.

Read it and benefit from it.

I hope this was helpful to you. If you have questions, please reply in the Comment section below...I would be glad to help.
15 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ground breaking 17 juin 2012
Par Shane Hopkinson - Publié sur
Format: Broché
What an excellent oppotunity to revisit this book and to have Ian Hacking write an essay for it means I am ordering it today. I wanted to draw people's attention to Guy Robinson's work, someone not well known, but who has drawn out some of the implications of Kuhn's work in a series of essays called Philosophy and Mystification. Kuhn expressed the view in correspondence to Guy that "You've seen to an almost unprecedented extent what I've been up to. I couldn't have identified my position so clearly at the time I wrote Structure." Someone has put some of Guy's essays on line including the key one 'On Misunderstanding Science' [...]

10 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Wonderful Edition of a Classic 23 décembre 2012
Par David Milliern - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Since "Structure" is considered by many to be the most important or influential work of philosophy of science, there is little reason to write a review about Kuhn's text, itself. The vaunted monograph is, after all, touted as being the most cited text of any intellectual work in the latter part of the twentieth century; not to mention my personal opinion, that it is among the most important works ever written. Instead, I will review the edition and the introduction by Ian Hacking. The only thing that comes to mind to say about the edition is that the text in some printings of the third edition has lettering that is wide and appears a little smudged. The text in the fourth edition appears much cleaner. As far as Ian Hacking's introduction, which is as much a tribute to the work as it is an introduction, I have found, is well worth updating from an early edition, if not replacing the older edition, then serving as a lovely complement. The reason I am of such an opinion, despite having very different views from Hacking's --then again, who actual agrees with anyone else's opinion of what Kuhn meant?--, is that Hacking places Kuhn's work into historical perspective, noting, to some extent, where history and philosophy of science was before Kuhn and, then, where history and philosophy of science was afterward. The introduction is a wonderfully compelling argument advancing the idea that everyone should be interested in reading: scientist, philosopher, historian, sociologist, anthropologist, and so on. What's more, Hacking doesn't limit the perspective taken in his introduction to a singular one, rather, in presenting context, he illustrates the richness of the text --and to the point that someone who has read the work many times might, once again, have their interest piqued, desirous of perusing the text. Finally, the introduction is beautifully written, and Hacking's interpretation shining through, picks out, what he sees as, salient features of the text. This combination of presentation and substance makes the 50th anniversary edition well worth a look, if not an acquisition for one's collection.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Epoch-Making, with some Shortcomings 20 mars 2014
Par Dr. Alexander Unzicker - Publié sur
Format: Broché
There is no need to restate the enormous significance of the ideas outlined in this book. Not coincidentally, many of them have entered science's everyday language, such as ’paradigm shift,' 'research tradition,' 'crisis,' ’anomaly,' and 'normal science.’ Most of Kuhn’s critics were focused on some details he might have gotten wrong, but they miss his major achievement. Kuhn rectified Popper's too simplistic picture of science being a history of corrected errors. Science does not only accumulate facts steadily but sometimes changes its own rules. Kuhn, with subtle observations and brilliant conclusions, added a new important aspect to our understanding of science.

Yet, I disagree with some of his subsequent statements. While he is right about the merely sociological mechanisms of how scientific consensus is established, I think he fails to identify the characteristics of progress that undoubtedly took place in science. An essential element of every revolution was a simplification in the laws of nature, often expressed by a fundamental constant that encompassed the prior, more complicated phenomenology (e.g., Newton’s constant G, the Rydberg constant R, Planck's constant h). Kuhn considered simplicity as just an aesthetic argument, which it is not in the first place. Aesthetic arguments, put forward by string theorists or epicycle theorists, have misguided science, simplicity never. And this is where the reader comes to miss the criteria for the quality of research programs, rather than the detached, descriptive view of a historian.

There are branches of science that are degenerating (e.g., the vitriolic description of ’zombie science' by Bruce G. Charlton), and a clear indication for this degeneration is if they create more problems and constants than they are able to eliminate, fail to develop useful technologies for decades, becomes self-referential, and so on. A part of these problems seems to be related to the status of researchers that changed from curious observers to many paid administrators of data today. A part of these problems seems to be related to the changing status of researchers from curious observers in the past to paid data administrators of today. Karl Popper, though a little superseded by Kuhn with his pure falsificationism, was a bit wiser in identifying science's problems in modern times: “Big science may destroy great science.”
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