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Kuhn, the History of Chemistry, and the Philosophy of Science

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I draw attention to one of the most important sources of Kuhn’s ideas in Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Contrary to the popular trend of focusing on external factors in explaining Kuhn’s views, factors related to his social milieu or personal experiences, I focus on the influence of the books and articles he was reading and thinking about in the history of science, specifically, sources in the history of chemistry. I argue that there is good reason to think that the history of chemistry had a profound influence on Kuhn’s thinking, and what is remarkable is that this has eluded our attention for so long. I also argue that his interest in the history of chemistry was due to the influence of James B. Conant and Leonard Nash.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science
Pages (from-to)75-92
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

    Research areas

  • Thomas Kuhn, History of chemistry, Philosophy of science, James B. Conant, Structure of scientific revolutions, John Dalton, Lavoisier

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