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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions | [Thomas S. Kuhn]

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Named one of "The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the Second World War" by the Times Literary Supplement, and one of the "100 Best Nonfiction" books by the Modern Library, Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is a landmark of scientific thought. Written in 1962, Kuhn's book took an entirely different view of how scientists perceived and achieved changes in basic theoretical assumptions - what he termed "paradigm shifts".
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Publisher's Summary

Named one of "The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the Second World War" by the Times Literary Supplement, and one of the "100 Best Nonfiction" books by the Modern Library, Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is a landmark of scientific thought.

Written in 1962, Kuhn's book took an entirely different view of how scientists perceived and achieved changes in basic theoretical assumptions - what he termed "paradigm shifts". The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is essential listening for understanding the history, philosophy, and evolution of science.

The late Thomas S. Kuhn was the Laurence Rockefeller Professor Emeritus of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

©1996 The University of Chicago; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A landmark in intellectual history which has attracted attention far beyond its own immediate field." (Science)
"Perhaps the best explanation of [the] process of discovery." (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Matthew Knoxville, TN, USA 03-31-10
    Matthew Knoxville, TN, USA 03-31-10
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    "Better than prior reviews led me to believe"

    I'm not quite sure what the others are talking about.

    The reader was adequate. He certainly wasn't superbly engaging, but neither was he so horrible as to make the book unlistenable.

    I was quite able to at least get the idea after a single listening, and so I don't think this is a bad format for less strenuous digestion of "Structure." Indeed, if you listen to it many times it might serve to totally replace the book.

    Perhaps it is right to say that academic books usually reward slow readings and re-readings while stopping occasionally to consider what's being said or what has been said. The pause and reverse buttons can facilitate some of this with an audio book, but obviously this type of digestion of a work is more suited to reading than to listening. However, for a first time read-through this audio book will more than serve.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mirek Lodz, Poland 07-05-09
    Mirek Lodz, Poland 07-05-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Important - not only for science"

    Thomas Kuhn's famous "Structure of Scientific Revolutions", today taken as classical text about the history of Science, is of amazing importance to understanding of the evolution of science.

    Kuhn was the first who elucidated the concept of PARADIGM in a relation to science. Paradigm, which we should understand as a pattern of thought - rather than a theory or model, is the pervasive component of almost any human intellectual activity.

    Kuhn proves that the evolution in science goes in a revolutionary way, by a process called "paradigm shift" which is usually abrupt and fast. One of the symptoms of the paradigm shift is the process of textbook rewriting - when the change appears to be unavoidable and untenable to the previous paradigm. Kuhn describes Copernican revolution, progress in chemistry, Newtonian physics, quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory or relativity as the key examples illustrating his concept.

    Very good book - should not be too difficult to read even to those who did not practice science.

    I think, there is also another reason to read it.

    When reading it I could not avoid thinking about the another field of activity where we witness revolutions and paradigm shifts: the history of Web. The web grown to today's size, mostly between 1995 to 2000 - in just 6 years it has changed so much - media, knowledge ...

    And, when we recall that the HTML was created in 1980, and HTTP in 1989 - we see that initially the old paradigm of communication was still prevailing. Until Netscape came with its killing application - the browser - and made the shift.

    And I'm almost sure we are at the footsteps of another paradigm shift - that between today's web of documents and tomorrow's web of data (aka Semantic Web). Kuhn's book teaches us that it is not very easy to predict when will it happen, and that we probably will witness some dramatic changes. It also explains the latency with SW adoption.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggie Baton Rouge, LA, United States 05-30-10
    Maggie Baton Rouge, LA, United States 05-30-10 Member Since 2007
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    "excellent"

    an excellent reading of an excellent book. wow. the information is timeless because the way humans think and process information are constant. Kuhn has captured the essence of the (complex) process by which we think, test, and alter what we think we know.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Des Moines, IA, USA 08-09-09
    Marcus Des Moines, IA, USA 08-09-09
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    "The problem is not with the book"

    This is one of the more historically important books in philosophy and science. It is too bad the audible version has the reader speak in a way that is quite artificial. This radically reduces the ability to attend to the material in a way that is needed to effectively appreciate Kuhn's work. Let us hope for a new recording where the reader does not rove up and down so drastically with intonation or utilize unnecessary pauses where one could continue the stream of thought. I think this is a fine example of when a classic is lost to the limits of understanding of the folks replicating it. All the same, it is great to have it available at all considering the age of the book. I commend audible for offering it, even in its "hard to listen to" state, and I highly recommend more scientific reads!

    29 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 09-11-12
    Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 09-11-12

    Letting the rest of the world go by

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    "Simply read and written and easily understood"

    This kind of book is why I love audible so much. I never would have read it let alone understand it if it weren't for being on audible. The book is written at such a level that anyone can follow what he's trying to say. I never would have realized that if I were reading the book on my own. (God bless Audible and it's great library of books!).

    By listening to the reader (Dennis Holland) it becomes obvious the writer (Kuhn) was writing the essay as to be accessible to all levels of readers (listeners). The reader gave it the simple presentation the author was striving to give.

    The two previous books I had been listening to, '13 Things That Don't Make Sense" and "Too Big to Know", both referenced this book extensively so I thought I'd give it a try. Usually, primary sources are hard for me to follow, but this book was not. At its core the book is still a philosophy book and doesn't flow as well as most of the popular science books that I read do.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John New Orleans, LA, United States 01-04-11
    John New Orleans, LA, United States 01-04-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Fascinating"

    Though there are plenty of big words and parts of it are hard to follow, i still got a lot out of it. Its not the kind of book i could listen to while I worked, I needed to give it full attention.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan FULLERTON, CA, United States 04-09-12
    Jonathan FULLERTON, CA, United States 04-09-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great book but a hard listen."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to be better than the print version?

    Probably not. I found the audio jam packed with thought provoking and new ideas. I tend to listen to audios on my way to work and this was definitely something I need to sit down, study and carefully read each paragraph.


    Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

    They were complicated concepts that require careful consideration.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. Spaced out between thoughts.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Smith Orlando, Florida United States 01-16-11
    Roger Smith Orlando, Florida United States 01-16-11 Member Since 2000

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Important Book"

    This is an important book. And it is hard to read on paper. It is even harder to absorb in audio. I think all scientists should read this book. But it takes a lot of focused attention no matter how you do it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-27-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A classic, read by a robot"

    Very poor reader. In fact, the worst I've come to.

    Reads sentences like "And he was going to -pause- say that one cannot assume (...)"

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy Lubbock, TX, United States 05-28-11
    Jimmy Lubbock, TX, United States 05-28-11 Member Since 2010
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    "A new paradigm in thinking"

    This monumental essay by Thomas Kuhn is the book that introduced us to the concept of paradigm shifts. Kuhn's writing and logic can be challenging. His sentences are not short and simple. However, the reader does a masterful job of reading, and he helps the content come through. I bought this to listen to while I followed along in the printed book. I read it years ago, but never understood it like I do now. This is a superbly read book about a difficult concept -- and worth every minute and Excedrin.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • FM Veteran
    UK
    11/14/13
    Overall
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    Story
    "Not revolutionary any more"

    Having so often seen this book mentioned in other texts, I was interested to find out what all the excitement was about. Having finished it, I could only wish I’d read it fifty years ago, when the ideas contained within it must have sounded much more revelatory than they do today. To be fair, it’s unusually articulate for a scientific text, and the central hypothesis is still robust and thought-provoking. But it's not what you'd call an entertaining read. Kuhn does illuminate some of his ideas with historical examples, but nothing like as colourfully as a good popular-science writer would today. Consequently, much of the book is, in all honesty, pretty turgid. In between the passages where the pace picks up, there are long stretches of rather hard going. It even takes Kuhn several chapters just to establish his premises before embarking on the main argument. By then, I didn’t really feel that bothered any more. Still, it’s intelligently read and well produced, it’s pretty short (4.5 hours on x2), and at least you can say afterwards that you’ve read it, and not just read about it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Isolde
    Dublin, Ireland
    9/4/12
    Overall
    "Essential reading for thoughtful people"

    This is a work which is often quoted, but probably less often read and understood. It introduced the term "paradigm shift" to our conceptual world, and was instrumental in shaping contemporary philosophy of science.
    However, I feel it is overdue a return to prominence. I want current scientistic positivists (for example, Richard Dawkins) to read and deeply consider this essay. Its subtleties and cultural relevance have perhaps been forgotten of late.
    This is a work which might be challenging for those unfamiliar with scientific or philosophical writing. I feel that the narrator doesn't understand what he is reading, and this can be very distracting in a work that is complex and involved. However, there is so little primary philosophical literature available as unabridged audiobook, especially from the 20th and 21st centuries, that we just have to take what we can get.
    A must-read for anyone interested in philosophy or history of science.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom
    10/15/09
    Overall
    "I love reading history and science"

    If you like heavy humanities papers, you'll love this.

    Otherwise you may find the humantities-paper tone unbearable.

    I really didn't like this book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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