Kuhn’s Lowell lectures: Thomas S. Kuhn: The quest for physical theory: problems in the methodology of scientific research, ed. George A. Reisch. Boston: The M. I. T. Libraries, Department of Distinctive Collections, 2021, xxxvi+169pp, $12.99 PB [Book Review]

Metascience 30 (3):383-386 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The Quest for Physical Theory (QPT) comprises the eight Lowell lectures that Kuhn gave on Tuesdays and Fridays in March 1951 in the Lecture Hall of the Boston Library. He was 28 years old at the time, a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows, a recent Harvard PhD in Physics (1949), and an instructor in the general-education course on science set up by James Conant, Harvard’s President. Kuhn seized the opportunity of the Lowell Lectures to present his new, and ground-breaking at the time, take on science which was shaped by Kuhn’s forays in psychology, philosophy, history, and logic. It is obvious from reading the lectures that Kuhn was very confident of his views and was aiming to jolt the public with his revisionary account. To a complacent audience, accustomed to the standard, textbook picture of science, he hurled the provocative claims that there are no pure facts, that prejudice plays a decisive role in scientific practice, that the then-current history of science fabricated mythologies about past science, that perception is not passive, and that the overthrow of a theory does not add to previous knowledge. All these claims more than foreshadow the basic elements of Kuhn’s model in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (SSR). It is not just that the lectures speak to the emergence of Kuhn’s ideas that were later refined, as George Reisch, the editor of QPT, says in his introductory essay. The lectures show that Kuhn had conceived his model, almost in its entirety, very early on, which means that the much-debated influence exercised on him by later works, such as Toulmin’s, Hanson’s, or Polanyi’s in the 1950s, was secondary to the exploratory readings of his youth. These later influences must have solidified his early conception.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 79,743

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Las Conferencias Lowell de Kuhn: Un estudio crítico.Juan Vicente Mayoral - 2013 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 28 (3):459.
Las conferencias Lowell de Kuhn: un estudio crítico.Juan Vicente Mayoral - 2013 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 28 (3):459-476.
Kuhn, Thomas S.James A. Marcum - 2015 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Thomas Kuhn's irrationalism.James Franklin - 2000 - New Criterion 18 (10):29-34.
Thomas S. Kuhn a zagadnienie rewolucji kopernikowskiej = Thomas S. Kuhn and the Issue of the Copernican Revolution.Michal Kokowski - 2001 - Polska Akademia Nauk. Instytut Historii Nauki PAN. Zaklad Badan Kopernikanskich.
Thomas Nickles (ed.): Thomas Kuhn[REVIEW]Howard Sankey - 2003 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (3).
Thought experiments.Rachel Cooper - 2005 - Metaphilosophy 36 (3):328-347.
Thomas Kuhn und die Wissenschaftsgeschichte†.Paul Hoyningen-Huene - 2001 - Berichte Zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 24 (1):1-12.
The spell of Kuhn on psychology: An exegetical elixir.William O'Donohue - 1993 - Philosophical Psychology 6 (3):267 – 287.
Thomas Kuhn on revolution and Paul Feyerabend on anarchy.Thomas J. Hickey - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 33 (1):102-114.
Thomas Kuhn.Alexander Bird - 2000 - Routledge.


Added to PP

10 (#909,997)

6 months
1 (#479,335)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Vasso Kindi
University of Athens

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The trouble with the historical philosophy of science.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass. (235 Holyoke Center, Cambridge 02138): Dept. of the History of Science, Harvard University.
The Politics of Paradigms.George Reisch - 2019 - Albany, NY, USA: SUNY.
A Discussion with Thomas Kuhn.Thomas Kuhn - 1995 - In James Conant & J. Haugeland (eds.), The Road Since Structure. University of Chicago Press.

Add more references