jan 1, 1962 - Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922–1996)


Thomas Kuhn is one of the most influential philosophers in the twentieth century. His book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, talks about his theory that science is influenced by social class, gender, race, and even politics. He believed that science has four phases that it goes through. The first phase Kuhn calls “Normal Science.” In this phase scientist do what scientist do, they solve problems and resolve anomalies. As “Normal Science” goes on more questions are raised. There is a point where scientists are willing to try anything. This is the next phase called the “Model Crisis” phase. Scientist try anything they can to answer the questions raised in the “Normal Science” phase. The next phase, the “Model Revolution,” is the phase where the answers are found. This phase is where scientist come up with new ways to think. The new thought process is what lead to the answers. He called it a revolution because the old way of thinking was so established that a revolution was needed. The final phase is the “Paradigm Change” or “Paradigm Shift.” Thomas Kuhn is actually the one who came up with the saying. The “Paradigm Change” occurs when the new way of thinking replaces the old way. This then becomes the “Normal Science” phase and the cycle continues. There are many examples of Kuhn’s theory. A popular example is that of our definition of gravity. The “Normal Science” phase was Newton’s and Galileo’s theories that the force of gravity was constant and affected all objects equally, regardless of weight. It was accepted as the truth. The “Model Crisis” came about when anomalies were found. Scientist started looking for the answers to those anomalies. When Einstein came up with his Theory of Relativity that answered those questions we entered the “Model Revolution” phase. It was then accepted as true and we entered the “Paradigm Change” phase. Then the cycle continued.

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996. Print.

Added to timeline:

9 months ago
Philosophy of Science


jan 1, 1962
~ 56 years ago