Book Review: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – Chapter 1

Having listened to the audiobook version of  Thomas Kuhn’s ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ (Kuhn, 2009) several times it has left me with the impression that this is a profound piece of work. Although Kuhn was very much influenced by Paul Feyerabend having comparing this work with Feyerabend’s ‘Against Method‘ I found that many common themes are more fully developed in Kuhn’s work. I also found that Kuhn’s profound interpretation of science as a social function not only has authenticity but that Kuhn’s perspective offers the possibility of further interpretations from a number of different perspectives. Chapter 1 is a relatively brief chapter or essay as he refers to it. In this chapter Kuhn sets the scene. He hints at the validity of historical scientific paradigms which might be considered redundant in a progressive and iterative model of science. This in itself is sufficient for the reader to examine one of the common assumptions about science and ‘progress’. Indeed such a perspective offers interesting insights into historical examples of scientific understanding. Kuhn also introduces the reader to the concept of ‘normal science’ as separate from the science that constitutes the paradigm shifting ‘scientific revolution’. By this means he is able to point us towards the tensions that often occur when the ‘scientific revolution’ meets ‘normal science’. By suggesting that the revolution itself does not occur at a certain point in time but is instead a gradual process Kuhn helps the reader to avoid obvious pitfalls. What I also found interesting here was Kuhn’s suggestion that the revolution doesn’t take place without a conflict between two opposing camps. This itself is reminiscent of the Hegelian Dialectical. However in this chapter Kuhn is merely setting the scene and it is in the later Chapters that his arguments are elaborated upon.


For review of Introduction see here.


Thomas Kuhn. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Narrated by Dennis Holland. (Paperback originally published in 1962). Audible. 2009.

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