Thomas Kuhn will undoubtedly be remembered primarily for The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a book that introduced one of the most influential conceptions of scientific progress to emerge during the twentieth century. The Road Since Structure, assembled with Kuhn's input before his death in 1996, follows the development of his thought through the later years of his life: collected here are several essays extending and rethinking the perspectives of Structure as well as an extensive, fascinating autobiographical interview in which Kuhn discusses the course of his life and philosophy.
It is possible that no book written in the last 50 years has had an influence as profound and far-reaching as Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
. Kuhn's argument that scientific knowledge does not develop cumulatively, but rather proceeds by a series of "paradigm shifts," captivated not only philosophers of science, but scholars in a wide range of academic disciplines. The Road Since Structure
is a follow-up to his landmark work and a look at Kuhn's theory since the book's original publication in 1962.
In keeping with Kuhn's wishes (he died in 1996), editors James Conant and John Haugeland organized The Road Since Structure to include 11 philosophical essays written since 1970. In the first part of the book, Kuhn spells out his theory as it developed in the 1980s and 1990s; in the second part, he replies to a number of criticisms and misreadings. The third section is a fascinating interview with Kuhn conducted less than a year before he died. For general interest readers, the lengthy interview--in which Kuhn candidly and engagingly discusses the trials and tribulations of his life and philosophical career--will probably be the most interesting part of the book. For those attuned to Kuhn's controversial work, The Road Since Structure is an indispensable aid for understanding his theory as it developed and for appreciating the full force of his replies to a host of critical objections. As always, Kuhn's clarity and fluid prose render accessible a field fraught with opaque writing. --Eric de Place
Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, published in 1962, is one of the most important works of our time. It has been translated into twenty five languages, and the English edition alone has sold more than one million copies. Structure established Kuhn as the century's most influential philosopher of science, but during the last twenty years of his life, Kuhn was radically rethinking the central concepts of that work. When he died in 1996, he left an unfinished sequel to Structure and a plan for a collection of essays written since 1970.
Divided into three parts, The Road since Structure is the fullest record we now have of the new direction Kuhn was taking during the last two decades of his life. The first part of the book consists of essays, philosophical rather than historical in nature, in which Kuhn refines the basic concepts set forth in Structure—paradigm shifts, incommensurability, and the nature of scientific progress. In part two, Kuhn replies at length to criticisms of his earlier work. Here the reader will find Kuhn arguing his position with some of the most significant philosophers of the time, including Paul Feyerabend and Karl Popper.
The third part of the volume is the transcript of a remarkable autobiographical interview with Kuhn conducted in Athens in 1995, not quite a year before his death. Here, the usually reticent Kuhn discusses his own intellectual development—his family and upbringing, his education, the influence of his training as a physicist, his war work, his relations with his colleagues, the responses to Structure—as well as his struggles to define his philosophical position both before and after that landmark work.
The Road since Structure is the definitive companion to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Forceful and accessible, it illuminates and further develops Kuhn's classic book, and it will intrigue everyone who has been engaged by Structure and the debates it launched. In it they will find the story not only of Kuhn's development but also of the man himself.
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