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Shainberg, D. (1967). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. By Thomas S. Kuhn. Phoenix Books. Chicago, III. University of Chicago Press, 1964, $ 1.50, 159 pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 27(1):97-98.

(1967). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 27(1):97-98

Book Reviews

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. By Thomas S. Kuhn. Phoenix Books. Chicago, III. University of Chicago Press, 1964, $ 1.50, 159 pp.

Review by:
David Shainberg, M.D.

This fascinating new study of the history of science examines the thinking of great scientists who have coherent scientific views of nature and reality. When two “incommensurable world views” come into conflict, change occurs. This book attempts to elucidate this concept of the history of science.

The key concept is paradigm, “universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners.” Paradigms are the determinants of where the scientific enterprise moves. Normal science studies facts such as boiling points or acidity of solutions which the paradigm has shown to be significant. It works on checking predictions of paradigms, i.e., comparing facts with theory. Telescopes of a special type were designed to demonstrate Copernicus’ predictions of the parallax. It attempts to articulate the paradigm, resolving problems and ambiguities created by the theory, which moves investigation into auxilliary areas of paradigm application. It also involves the determination of constants and quantitative laws.

Paradigms also set rules for the puzzle solving of normal science. Rules are the “established viewpoints” or “preconceptions.” Equipment must be designed to collect data such as wave length or electron displacement, and data then fit into specific theory. Indices of electron wave length had no meaning until a theory was available for relating them. The rules determine the translation of primary sensory experience and the kinds of instruments employed.

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