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Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions at FiftyReflections on a Science Classic$
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Robert J. "Richards and Lorraine Daston

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226317038

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226317175.001.0001

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History of Science without Structure

History of Science without Structure

Chapter:
(p.115) Six History of Science without Structure
Source:
Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions at Fifty
Author(s):

Lorraine Daston

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226317175.003.0007

No word in the title (and project) of Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions now seems more outdated among historians of science than “structure.” The success of Kuhn’s own historicist program has made the existence of such over-arching structures across historical epochs and scientific disciplines seem implausible. Kuhn’s own version structures in the history of science centered on paradigms, but he was unable to explain how these could be reduced to a set of clear-cut rules–indeed, Kuhn denied the possibility of such reductions. Instead, he turned to metaphors drawn from perceptual psychology, especially experiments done on inverting glasses. Re-examining these experiments suggests a way out of the apparent impasse of rule-governed structures versus paradigms by rethinking the meaning of rule.

Keywords:   Thomas Kuhn, structure, paradigm, perception, inverting glasses, rules

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