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Publisher's Summary

A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were - and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach.

With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don't arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of "normal science", as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.

Note: This new edition of Kuhn's essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn's ideas to the science of today.

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

Critic Reviews

"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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  • Mirek
  • Lodz, Poland
  • 07-05-09

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.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Maggie
  • Baton Rouge, LA, United States
  • 05-30-10


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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • Knoxville, TN, USA
  • 03-31-10

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.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcus
  • Des Moines, IA, USA
  • 08-09-09

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!

34 of 39 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 01-04-11


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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Gary
  • Las Cruces, NM, United States
  • 09-11-12

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

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  • Jonathan
  • FULLERTON, CA, United States
  • 04-09-12

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Roger
  • Orlando, Florida United States
  • 01-16-11

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

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a classic about scientific thinking

and highly worth listening to.
certainly worthwhile to listen more than one time. Kuhn's concept is one of the basics of modern time scientific approaches.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcus
  • Brasília, Brazil
  • 03-04-14

The Idea of Progress

This is a very insightful book. Thomas Kuhn delivered an intelligent account about how the sciences develop. More precisely, development by disruption and not by acumulation. Listening to this essay, one can reflect about the idea of progress. It seems that the sciences advance with rejection of old paradigms and creation of new ones, the last don't necessarily linked with the formers. Can we say the same thing about the development of humanities? The narration is fair and the audiobook is from a book edition that have a foreword by the author, in which he answers some criticism the original version received.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Isolde
  • 09-04-12

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Louis
  • 05-26-17

very interesting

extremely interesting ideas about how scientific thought changes and the dynamics that are involved in such a process

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  • Artur
  • 06-11-16

Good quality but where is ch6?

Good sound quality and reading speed and kuhn has produced a madterpiece- an essential book for philosophers and scientists. However quick check has revealed ch5 onwards are mislabelled they're all one CH ahead!!

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  • David
  • 10-15-09

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.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful