Rowman and Littlefield International

The Kuhnian Image of Science

Time for a Decisive Transformation?

Edited by Moti Mizrahi

9 Reviews

The essays in this collection offer a critical examination of the arguments for and against the Kuhnian image of science as well as their implications for our understanding of science as a social and epistemic enterprise.

Hardback ISBN: 9781786603401 Release date: Dec 2017
£85.00 €119.00 $126.00
Ebook ISBN: 9781786603425 Release date: Dec 2017
£22.95 €32.95 $33.00
Paperback ISBN: 9781786603418 Release date: May 2019
£23.95 €33.95 $34.95

Series: Collective Studies in Knowledge and Society

Pages: 224


More than 50 years after the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s seminal book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, this volume assesses the adequacy of the Kuhnian model in explaining certain aspects of science, particularly the social and epistemic aspects of science. One argument put forward is that there are no good reasons to accept Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis, according to which scientific revolutions involve the replacement of theories with conceptually incompatible ones. Perhaps, therefore, it is time for another “decisive transformation in the image of science by which we are now possessed.” Only this time, the image of science that needs to be transformed is the Kuhnian one. Does the Kuhnian image of science provide an adequate model of scientific practice? If we abandon the Kuhnian picture of revolutionary change and incommensurability, what consequences would follow from that vis-à-vis our understanding of scientific knowledge as a social endeavour?

The essays in this collection continue this debate, offering a critical examination of the arguments for and against the Kuhnian image of science as well as their implications for our understanding of science as a social and epistemic enterprise.

Introduction, Moti Mizrahi / Part I: Questioning the Kuhnian Image of Science / 1. Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis: What’s the Argument?, Moti Mizrahi / 2. Modeling Scientific Development: Lessons from Thomas Kuhn, Alexandra Argamakova / 3. Can Kuhn’s Taxonomic Incommensurability be an Image of Science? Seungbae Park / 4. The Demise of the Incommensurability Thesis, Howard Sankey / Part II: Defending the Kuhnian Image of Science / 5. The Kuhnian Straw Man, Vasso Kindi / 6. Kuhn, Pedagogy, and Practice: A Local Reading of Structure, Lydia Patton / Part III: Revising the Kuhnian Image of Science / 7. Redefining Revolutions, Andrew Aberdein / 8. Revolution or Evolution in Science? A Role for the Incommensurability Thesis? James A. Marcum / Part IV: Abandoning the Kuhnian Image of Science / 9. The Biological Metaphors of Scientific Change, Barbara Gabriella Renzi and Giulio Napolitano / 10.Beyond Kuhn: Methodological Contextualism and Partial Paradigms, Darrell P. Rowbottom / About the Contributors / Index

Moti Mizrahi is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Florida Institute of Technology.

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9 Reviews

Moti Mizrahi put together a provocative volume which will be of interest to anyone concerned with Kuhn and his legacy in philosophy of science. The volume offers a philosophical critique and reassessment of Kuhn, one of the figures most often associated with the historical and social practice perspectives in philosophy of science. At stake is nothing less than whether or not science is a progressive and rational enterprise.

Ehud Lamm, Senior Lecturer at The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University

This collection on Kuhn’s work and its influence includes a healthy plurality of reactions, from very negative responses to elaborations that find enduring value in Kuhn’s work. Mizrahi has done a great job with this timely collection, which will benefit seminars on science studies, the acceptance and rejection of ideas, and theory change, as well as readers interested in the philosophy of science in general.

Alberto Cordero, Professor of Philosophy at CUNY Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York

Is Thomas Kuhn's theory of ‘scientific revolutions’ in fact supported by the historical track record? Do paradigm shifts really render past and present theories incommensurable? By addressing these and related questions, the essays collected in The Kuhnian Image of Science, make a provocative case for the need to reassess the scope and validity of Kuhn's theories. As such, the book is a must-read for anyone interested in the scientific method and its complexities.

Axel Gelfert, Associate Professor of Philosophy, National University of Singapore

This collection offers a new critical engagement with some of the most puzzling aspects of Thomas Kuhn’s influential views on science. The authors offer novel insights into the questions of scientific knowledge and theory change, both challenging and developing Kuhn’s original positions. This is a good resource for anyone interested in the nature of scientific knowledge.

Milena Ivanova, Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy at LMU Munich

This compelling collection asks whether Kuhn failed by his own standards, cherry-picking his examples and massively over-generalizing—then passing his sins on to a bruised discipline that thought emulating Kuhn would correct these very errors. The contributors ask awkward questions, which must be asked; the treatments are sensitive and scholarly. The book is both provocative and deep: paradigm-shifting material.

Alex Broadbent, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg

Mizrahi has curated an exciting and provocative volume on that icon of the philosophy of science—Thomas Kuhn’s image of science. These essays challenge that image and defend that image; they criticize it and they develop it. The reader will come away stimulated and with a deeper understanding not only of Kuhn’s conception of science but also of science itself.

Alexander Bird, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is the most influential book ever published in philosophy of science. This splendid volume, with high-quality contributions from well-known philosophers of science, offers a plurality of responses to Kuhn’s classic. While some contributors challenge his account of scientific development and attempt to supersede it, others defend and refine it. A welcome addition to Kuhn scholarship.

Theodore Arabatzis, Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Finally, a serious critique of the Kuhnian image of science! The important question of whether the Kuhnian image of science allows us to adequately examine interaction between the social practices of scientists and the epistemic practices scientists engage in is finally put on the table, alongside a fiery critique of the true nature of the historical aspects of Kuhn’s account of science.

Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem, Professor of Philosophy and Logic at the University of Pretoria

This book provoked interesting questions for me, regarding the nature of historiography, proper use of case studies, and implications of the Kuhnian image for science studies. The essays left me more convinced than ever that the concern with semantic incommensurability is a dead end. More fruitful lines of research lie with the study of scientific practice, argumentation, and social-institutional conditions of enquiry.


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