World Changes: Thomas Kuhn and the Nature of Science

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Thomas Kuhn is viewed as one of the most influential (and controversial) philosophers of science, and this re-release of a classic examination of one of his seminal works reflects his continuing importance. In World Changes, the contributors examine the work of Kuhn from a broad philosophical perspective, comparing earlier logical empiricism and logical positivism with the new philosophy of science inspired by Kuhn in the early 1960s.  The nine chapters offer interpretations of his major work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and subsequent writings. The introduction outlines the significant concepts of Kuhn's work that are examined and is followed by a brief appraisal of Kuhn by Carl Hempel. The chapters discuss topics that include: a systematic comparison of Kuhn and Carnap viewing similarities and differences; the disputation of absolute truth; rational theory evaluation and comparison; applying theory to observation and the relation of models in a new conceptualization of theory content; and interpreting Kuhn's plurality-of-worlds thesis. The volume also presents four historical papers that speak to Kuhn's views on lexical structures and concept-formation and their antecedents. The afterward, by Kuhn himself, reviews his own philosophical development, his thoughts on the dynamics of scientific growth, and his response to issues raised by the contributors and other interpreters of his work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Magnificent. A splendid volume with state-of-the-art philosophical and historical pieces. Highly recommended.”
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

“The essays are fascinating and make visible, blow by blow, the evolving discussion of the nature of science.”

“World Changes touches many facets of Kuhn's legacy . . . a wide-ranging book that offers interesting reading for the historian as well as the philosopher.”

Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) opened a new dimension in the study of how science and scientists work, and remains a seminal work in the philosophy of science. The development and relevance of ideas he raised, and their application to new historical situations, are discussed in 11 essays. Kuhn contributes an afterword. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822960546
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2009
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 364
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Horwich is professor of philosophy at New York University. He is the author of numerous books, including:  Reflections on Meaning; From a Deflationary Point of View; and Meaning. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, among others.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Thomas Kuhn, Colleague and Friend 7
The Philosophers Look Back
Carnap, Kuhn, and the Philosophy of Scientific Methodology 9
Remarks on the History of Science and the History of Philosophy 37
Rationality and Paradigm Change in Science 55
The Historians Look
A Mathematicians' Mutiny, with Morals 81
Science and Humanism in the Renaissance: Regiomontanus's Oration on the Dignity and Utility of the Mathematical Sciences 131
Design for Experimenting 169
Mediations: Enlightenment Balancing Acts, or the Technologies of Rationalism 207
The Philosophers Look Ahead
How We Relate Theory to Observation 259
Working in a New World: The Taxonomic Solution 275
Afterwords 311
Contributors 343
Index 347
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