Kuhn's Evolutionary Social Epistemology
Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) has been enduringly influential in philosophy of science, challenging many common presuppositions about the nature of science and the growth of scientific knowledge. However, philosophers have misunderstood Kuhn's view, treating him as a relativist or social constructionist. In this book, Brad Wray argues that Kuhn provides a useful framework for developing an epistemology of science that takes account of the constructive role that social factors play in scientific inquiry. He examines the core concepts of Structure and explains the main characteristics of both Kuhn's evolutionary epistemology and his social epistemology, relating Structure to Kuhn's developed view presented in his later writings. The discussion includes analyses of the Copernican revolution in astronomy and the plate tectonics revolution in geology. The book will be useful for scholars working in science studies, sociologists and historians of science as well as philosophers of science.
- Paperback | 244 pages
- 152 x 229 x 13mm | 330g
- 27 Mar 2014
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- 3 b/w illus. 1 table
Table of contents
List of figures and table; Acknowledgements; Introduction: Kuhn's insight; Part I. Revolutions, Paradigms, and Incommensurability: 1. Scientific revolutions as lexical changes; 2. The Copernican revolution revisited; 3. Kuhn and the discovery of paradigms; 4. The epistemic significance of incommensurability; Part II. Kuhn's Evolutionary Epistemology: 5. Kuhn's historical perspective; 6. Truth and the end of scientific inquiry; 7. Scientific specialization; 8. Taking stock of the evolutionary dimensions of Kuhn's epistemology; Part III. Kuhn's Social Epistemology: 9. Kuhn's constructionism; 10. What makes Kuhn's epistemology a social epistemology?; 11. How does a new theory come to be accepted?; 12. Where the road has taken us: a synthesis; Bibliography; Index.
'K. Brad Wray admirably succeeds in explaining in a coherent way Thomas Kuhn's view of scientific development. He shows us how a sympathetic dispute with the sociology of science paves the way for a social epistemology that deserves its name. He also shows us clearly how a theory of scientific development that features revolutions is nevertheless evolutionary. A splendid book!' Professor Dr Paul Hoyningen-Huene, Leibniz Universitat Hannover 'Wray's monograph fills an important gap in the literature on Kuhn by clarifying and defending Kuhn's epistemology of science as it was developed in his later work, and by showing how it relates to recent work in sociology of science and science studies. Wray offers many important insights drawn from his re-examination of Kuhn's social epistemology while at the same time pointing to new areas of research that philosophers need to pursue.' Hanne Andersen, Aarhus University, Denmark 'Excellent book ... a rich and stimulating guide, one that caused me to rethink my own take on Kuhn and the issues that his work has raised for us. Both science studies professionals and more general readers will find much of value here.' Metascience '... a constructive and insightful framework for developing an epistemology of science ... Well written, clear, and carefully argued, Kuhn's Evolutionary Social Epistemology will be most useful and insightful ...' Stefano Gattei, Isis '... of interest to philosophers, sociologists, scientists, historians of science, and scholars working in science studies ... Wray has the ability to write in a clear and accessible way ... could be used as a textbook on Kuhn's epistemology of science ... a splendid book ... I am convinced it will inspire many scholars and students in years to come.' Barbara G. Benzi, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science '... highly recommended ... The book provides concrete points of cooperative and collaborative studies of the science of sociological and philosophical perspective ...' Markus Seidel, Rezensionen: Zeitschrift fur Theoretische Soziologie
About K. Brad Wray
K. Brad Wray is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York, Oswego. He has published extensively on the epistemology of science, Kuhn's philosophy of science and the anti-realism/realism debate. He was the guest editor of a special issue of the journal Episteme, on the theme of collective knowledge and science, and he is also the editor of an epistemology textbook, Knowledge and Inquiry (2002).