chapter
2 Pages

Thomas Kuhn

WithJoyce Appleby, Elizabeth Covington, David Hoyt, Michael Latham, Allison Sneider

In the years following the publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Princeton professor of History Thomas Kuhn, his work has been read and taken very seriously by scholars in almost every discipline from physics to political science. Before Kuhn, the popular perception of scientific practice was rooted in Enlightenment rationalism. Scientists were viewed as neutral observers of concrete phenomena. Knowledge was the cumulative result of individual efforts to know the truth, and it was a central tenet of modern faith that individuals would increasingly be able to know and control the world around them. Kuhn shattered this understanding of science by demonstrating that far from being an individualistic enterprise, science took place among a community of practitioners whose research goals and conclusions were validated through consensus.