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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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Interpreting Science

Interpreting Science

Kuhn as a Social Theorist

(p.161) 6 Interpreting Science
Social Inquiry After Wittgenstein and Kuhn

John G. Gunnell

Columbia University Press

This chapter is concerned with the clarification of Thomas Kuhn's controversial account of science, focusing on how it relates to issues in social inquiry and how it exemplifies Wittgenstein's approach to philosophy. The connection between Wittgenstein's and Kuhn's works is not only seen by critics; for instance, Wes Sharrock and Rupert Read argue that Kuhn can be perceived in many respects as a “Wittgensteinian.” Read further emphasized the importance of situating Wittgenstein among the sciences. The parallels between Kuhn's argument and Wittgenstein's On Certainty are almost uncanny, but there is no proof that Kuhn was familiar with that text when he wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It was the Berkeley environment that influenced the argument of Structure; Kuhn worked in the philosophy department at Berkeley with Stanley Cavell and Paul Feyerabend. Feyerabend's philosophy, like Kuhn's, is in agreement with Wittgenstein's and speaks to issues in social inquiry.

Keywords:   Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, social inquiry, Wittgensteinian philosophy, On Certainty, Paul Feyerabend, Stanley Cavell

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