17 Facts About Thomas Kuhn


Thomas Samuel Kuhn was an American historian and philosopher of science whose 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was influential in both academic and popular circles, introducing the term paradigm shift, which has since become an English-language idiom.


Thomas Kuhn graduated from The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, in 1940.


Thomas Kuhn obtained his BSc degree in physics from Harvard College in 1943, where he obtained MSc and PhD degrees in physics in 1946 and 1949, respectively, under the supervision of John Van Vleck.


Thomas Kuhn taught a course in the history of science at Harvard from 1948 until 1956, at the suggestion of university president James Conant.


Thomas Kuhn interviewed and tape recorded Danish physicist Niels Bohr the day before Bohr's death.


Thomas Kuhn served as the president of the History of Science Society from 1969 to 1970.


Whether Thomas Kuhn's views had such relativistic consequences is the subject of much debate; Thomas Kuhn himself denied the accusation of relativism in the third edition of SSR, and sought to clarify his views to avoid further misinterpretation.


Thomas Kuhn is credited as a foundational force behind the post-Mertonian sociology of scientific knowledge.


Thomas Kuhn's work has been used in the Arts and Humanities, such as by Matthew Edward Harris to distinguish between scientific and historical communities : 'political-religious beliefs and opinions are not epistemologically the same as those pertaining to scientific theories'.


Thomas Kuhn then goes on to show how, although these criteria admittedly determine theory choice, they are imprecise in practice and relative to individual scientists.


Years after the publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn dropped the concept of a paradigm and began to focus on the semantic aspects of scientific theories.


In particular, Thomas Kuhn focuses on the taxonomic structure of scientific kind terms.


Apart from dropping the concept of a paradigm, Thomas Kuhn began to look at the process of scientific specialisation.


Some philosophers claim that Thomas Kuhn attempted to describe different kinds of scientific change: revolutions and specialty-creation.


Polanyi lectured on this topic for decades before Thomas Kuhn published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.


Thomas Kuhn was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 1954, elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1963, elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1974, elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1979, and, in 1982 was awarded the George Sarton Medal by the History of Science Society.


Thomas Kuhn was married twice, first to Kathryn Muhs with whom he had three children, then to Jehane Barton Burns.