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Kuhn vs. Popper: The Struggle For The Soul Of Science (Revolutions in Science)
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Kuhn vs. Popper: The Struggle For The Soul Of Science (Revolutions in Science)

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  15 reviews
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 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?
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published December 14th 2004 by Columbia University Press (first published 2003)
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Nick Wellings
Nice introduction to the thoughts and consequences of each man's philosophical project. As some reviewers say, the 'struggle' of the title isn't quite shown. Fuller's treatment is quite measured, but tinged I think with a little of his own bias. (
I may be mistaken here though but Fuller does rehabilitate Popper a little. One gets the impression that he sees him as unfairly maligned and unjustly neglected. (I detected a little 'hero/villain' Popper as underdog vibe in Fuller's treatment.)

I picked this up to read along with Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" because it seemed to present an argument against Kuhn and in the defense of another philosopher of science, Karl Popper. After reading about Kuhn's paradigms, I wanted another viewpoint about his ideas.

This book was exactly that. The author clearly sympathizes with Popper, whose ideas were apparently not as widespread or accepted as Kuhn's were. The ideas against Kuhn were interesting and plausible most o
I picked this book up in the hopes that I would get some kind of synopsis of both of these philosopher's views. Fuller summed them up like this "Kuhn = paradigms; Popper = falsification." While I don't doubt that this is true I was hoping for a bit more than that. Instead of summation of the views of the philosophers' views, Fuller is more concerned with the implications of their views. He dives into how their views have interacted over time. The philosophical and religious influences to each of ...more

"How can a mere philosopher devise criteria distinguishing between good and bad science, knowing it is an inutterable mystic secret of the Royal Society?" - Imre Lakatos (1973)

I don't know much about Thomas Kuhn or Karl Popper. What I was expecting from this book was a brief and accessible introduction to debates about the scientific method, using the tension between the two as a hook. What it actually turns out to be is a bit of a hatchet job on Thomas Kuhn. Probably the book is best read by so

Despite the emotive title - which suggests the book documents a personality-driven clash between two intellectual giants as they "struggle for the soul of science" - this is not the pop-science/philosophy page-turner I was expecting and hoping for.

Instead it is an extended essay, replete with enough academic jargon to send you to the basic (and biased) glossary at the end of the book, in which Fuller argues that if only Popper's, not Kuhn's, version of the scientific method had prevailed... well
The title of the book, "Kuhn vs. Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science" is a bit over the top. I doubt many scientists thought the very essence of science was up for grabs as Thomas Kuhn's paradigmatic perspective of science was pushing back against Karl Popper's concept of falsification, itself a reaction to the positivism of the early 20th century. The folks actually doing science were too busy doing science. In a way, this is part of Fuller's point: scientists would do well to come up ...more
Kuhn's basic concept was “paradigm”, which is the “idea that scientific inquiry is anchored in an exemplar that researchers then use as a model for future investigations”. Kuhn sees a paradigm as an irrefutable theory that becomes an irreversible policy (ie., researchers only work toward things they know rather than radical change. Therefore, Kuhn's concept is conformist and inherently uncritical. He has a backward look. He is an elitist who sees science as a stabilizing social practice.

A great book if only because of the way it provides a social context for the history of the interaction of Kuhn's and Popper's ideas. There is very little literature available that so straitforwardly discusses the implications of these ideas within academia (not just Philosophy of Science per se).

I do have a problem with the author (Steve Fuller) providing anti-science testimony on the side of the creationists during the famous Dover Creationism vs Evolution Trial. That alone should've kept me
This was a helpfully thought provoking book and explained to me why ever since I was a student of philosophy of science student under a former PhD student of Popper I had some things I could not reconcile

very interesting and as it was my first book by Fuller I am tempted to read more of his work
This is not a book about the thoughts and ideas of these two men. It has some summary but not as much as I was hoping for. It does however explain how there ideas interact and differ. It gives some history and some context. I am glad I am reading it.
Aug 10, 2014 Createpei rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Researchers
Recommended to Createpei by: Jared
An interesting comparison of Popper and Kuhn, their similarities and differences. As other reviews reveal, the author has his biases towards on of the two philosophies, however, this was a good primer to compare the two philosophical lenses.
Justin Salisbury
What a load of crap, there may be 50 people that care about the (mostly fantastical) battle between Kuhn & Popper. If you are one of these people... find a hobby.
This book was critically blasted to pieces - I wanted to see what the bruhaha was all about. Read it if you want to keep up on your philosophy of science parerga.
Vague and verbose.
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Professor of Sociology of Science,
University of Warwick
More about Steve Fuller...
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