Kuhn’s Way

Joseph Agassi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The histories of Kuhn are above average, as he did not conceal controversy and error. Regrettably, he played them down. Unfortunately, he viewed dissent increasingly as verbal variance, considering general assent to him essential for his becoming a scientific leader. He declared obligatory the endorsement of dogmas of scientific leaders, yet he declared agreement with too many contending philosophers as he had no power over them and he never discussed the question, how do leaders achieve it. Following Polanyi, he suggested that the leaders are the best, yet he himself gained power from his mentor, Harvard president James Bryant Conant. His philosophy had many gaps that he filled with commonsense ad hoc. Yet on induction he was in a minority (with Conant and with Popper) and thus contrary to most of the philosophers of science of his day. He also borrowed traditionalism from Polanyi and incommensurability from Duhem. He did not really need it; he had no theory of truth and no alternative to common inductivism, instrumentalism and Einstein’s approximationism, all of which he rejected. His critique of approximationism is his best, but it does not live up to its promise. Nonetheless, his influence was beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpringerBriefs in Philosophy
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameSpringerBriefs in Philosophy
ISSN (Print)2211-4548
ISSN (Electronic)2211-4556


  • Crucial Test
  • Discussion Period
  • General Assent
  • Grammatical Model
  • International History


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