Inspirational Thomas Kuhn Quotes

Thomas Kuhn (July 18, 1922 – June 17, 1996) was an American physicist, historian and philosopher of science. This post features some Inspirational Thomas Kuhn Quotes.

His controversial 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. Kuhn made several notable claims concerning the progress of scientific knowledge: that scientific fields undergo periodic “paradigm shifts” rather than solely progressing in a linear and continuous way.

Thomas Kuhn Quotes
Thomas Kuhn Quotes

Thomas Kuhn Quotes

“Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Normal science, the activity in which most scientists inevitably spend almost all their time, is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“To reject one paradigm without simultaneously substituting another is to reject science itself.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Perhaps science does not develop by the accumulation of individual discoveries and inventions.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“The man who succeeds proves himself an expert puzzle-solver, and the challenge of the puzzle is an important part of what usually drives him on.”
Thomas Kuhn

“And even when the apparatus exists, novelty ordinarily emerges only for the man who, knowing with precision what he should expect, is able to recognize that something has gone wrong.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Under normal conditions the research scientist is not an innovator but a solver of puzzles, and the puzzles upon which he concentrates are just those which he believes can be both stated and solved within the existing scientific tradition.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“The depreciation of historical fact is deeply, and probably functionally, ingrained in the ideology of the scientific profession, the same profession that places the highest of all values upon factual details of other sorts.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Unanticipated novelty, the new discovery, can emerge only to the extent that his anticipations about nature and his instruments prove wrong.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“If these out-of date beliefs are to be called myths, then myths can be produced by the same sorts of methods and held for the same sorts of reasons that now lead to scientific knowledge.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Observation and experience can and must drastically restrict the range of admissible scientific belief, else there would be no science. But they cannot alone determine a particular body of such belief. An apparently arbitrary element, compounded of personal and historical accident, is always a formative ingredient of the beliefs espoused by a given scientific community at a given time.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Unable either to practice science without the Principia or to make that work conform to the corpuscular standards of the seventeenth century, scientists gradually accepted the view that gravity was indeed innate.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“What man sees depends both upon what he looks at and also upon what his previous visual-conception experience has taught him to see.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Newton’s three laws of motion are less a product of novel experiments than of the attempt to reinterpret well-known observations in terms of motions and interactions of primary neutral corpuscles.”
Thomas Kuhn quotes

“The man who is striving to solve a problem defined by existing knowledge and technique is not, however, just looking around. He knows what he wants to achieve, and he designs his instruments and directs his thoughts accordingly. Unanticipated novelty, the new discovery, can emerge only to the extent that his anticipations about nature and his instruments prove wrong. . . . There is no other effective way in which discoveries might be generated.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Its assimilation requires the reconstruction of prior theory and re-evaluation of prior fact, an intrinsically revolutionary process that is seldom completed a single man and never overnight.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Gravity, interpreted as an innate attraction between every pair of particles of matter, was an occult quality in the same sense as the scholastics’ “tendency to fall” had been.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Max Planck, surveying his own career in his Scientific Autobiography, sadly remarked that “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
― Thomas Kuhn

“Because scientists are reasonable men, one or another argument will ultimately persuade many of them. But there is no single argument that can or should persuade them all. Rather than a single group conversion, what occurs is an increasing shift in the distribution of professional allegiances.”
― Thomas Kuhn

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