Thomas S. Kuhn (1922–1996)

American physicist, philosopher, and historian. Educated at Harvard University, where he earned a Ph.D. in physics, Kuhn was a specialist in the history and philosophy of science. The author of The Copernican Revolution (1957) and The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change (1977), he taught the history of science at Harvard from 1948 to 1956, when he moved to the University of California at Berkeley. Kuhn is perhaps best known for The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962; 1970; 1996), in which he argued that scientific understanding is determined by frameworks or “paradigms” that periodically are shown to be outmoded and are replaced in “paradigm shifts.” Before his death, Kuhn was Laurence S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Much of his later work is collected in The Road since Structure: Philosophical Essays, 1970–1993 (2000). See also