Book Details

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    • December 2004
    • 9780231134286
  • 160 Pages
  • Hardcover
  • $30.00


Kuhn vs. Popper

The Struggle for the Soul of Science

Steve Fuller

Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions has sold over a million copies in more than twenty languages and has remained one of the ten most cited academic works for the past half century. In contrast, Karl Popper's seminal book The Logic of Scientific Discovery has lapsed into relative obscurity. Although the two men debated the nature of science only once, the legacy of this encounter has dominated intellectual and public discussions on the topic ever since.

Almost universally recognized as the modern watershed in the philosophy of science, Kuhn's relativistic vision of shifting paradigms--which asserted that science was just another human activity, like art or philosophy, only more specialized--triumphed over Popper's more positivistic belief in science's revolutionary potential to falsify society's dogmas. But has this victory been beneficial for science? Steve Fuller argues that not only has Kuhn's dominance had an adverse impact on the field but both thinkers have been radically misinterpreted in the process. This debate raises a vital question: Can science remain an independent, progressive force in society, or is it destined to continue as the technical wing of the military-industrial complex? Drawing on original research--including the Kuhn archives at MIT--Fuller offers a clear account of "Kuhn vs. Popper" and what it will mean for the future of scientific inquiry.

About the Author

Steve Fuller is professor of sociology at the University of Warwick, England, and the author of Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times.

This is an eloquently written book, offering new and interesting perspectives on the moral and social ramifications of this debate.

Ray Percival

A succinct yet in-depth inquiry into a significant philosophical issue.

It's a fascinating and, at 132 pages, delightfully concise work.

Gregory Mone

A feisty and rich little book...always stimulating

A. C. Grayling

This slight volume is a lively, incisive volume...This volume will be of great interest both to academic specialists and general readers...Recommended.

Kuhn vs. Popper is a concise and engaging book that philosophers of science, investigators of political thought and, indeed, laymen with a philosophical interest will find an interesting read.

Milja Kurki

Provocative and brilliant.

Neil McLaughlin

A provocative read.

Robert J. Deltete

In Search of the Causes of a Non-EventKuhn and Popper: A Case of Mistaken IdentitiesPopperian Suspicions and Kuhnian VindicationWe've Been Here Before: The Prehistory of the DebateDialectics as the Pulse of Scientific ProgressA Parting Shot at the MisunderstandingWhy Philosophers Get No Respect from ScientistsSo, Why Are Philosophers of Science Pro-Science?The Return of the Repressed: Philosophers as Tory Historians of ScienceThe Religious Unconscious of the DebateDo We Believe by Evidence or by Decision? A Very Short History of EpistemologyThe University as the Absent Presence of the Kuhn-Popper DebatePopper and Adorno United: The Rationalist Left at Positivism's WakePopper and Adorno Divided: The Rationalist Left Haunted by HistoricismHow to be Responsible for Ideas--the Popperian WayFailing the Popperian Test for Intellectual Responsibility: Rorty on HeideggerIs Thomas Kuhn the American Heidegger?