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Social Inquiry After Wittgenstein and KuhnLeaving Everything as It Is$
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John Gunnell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169400

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169400.001.0001

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Thomas Kuhn & the Shadow of Wittgenstein

Thomas Kuhn & the Shadow of Wittgenstein

(p.13) 1 Thomas Kuhn & the Shadow of Wittgenstein
Social Inquiry After Wittgenstein and Kuhn

John G. Gunnell

Columbia University Press

This chapter demonstrates how the shadow of Wittgenstein looms over issues of social inquiry. This shadow, however, is not an accurate manifestation of his argument, and it confuses the domain on which it has been cast. Filmmaker Errol Morris' criticism of Thomas Kuhn as an example of how Wittgenstein's work has threatened the concept of truth is drawn from misinterpretations on their work by some philosophers. While Morris claims that Kuhn jeopardized the objectivity of science and the search for truth, others have argued that the practical implication of Kuhn's work was to promote philosophical satisfaction and political conformity. These arguments are nonetheless historically inaccurate, and basically misunderstand the works of both Wittgenstein and Kuhn.

Keywords:   Thomas Kuhn, Ludwig Wittgenstein, social inquiry, Errol Morris, truth, science

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