Revolutions, incommensurability and scientific rationality in Thomas Kuhn’s later writings


  • Tamires Dal Magro Universidade Federal de Santa Maria



Kuhn continued producing very high quality philosophy after The structure of scientific revolutions (1962) until his death in 1996. This paper describes the changes his thought underwent regarding three theses: (1) that scientific development is not cumulative, (2) that paradigms are incommensurable, and (3) that the choice of new paradigms in periods of revolution is not based solely on observations and logical reasoning. These three theses were the subject of controversies in the initial reception of Kuhn’s work, motivating strong criticisms of the image of science allegedly defended by author. In response to those criticisms Kuhn emphasized the realistic aspect of his philosophy and reformulated in more linguistic terms theses (1) and (2), but he left unchanged thesis (3). We argue that the changes introduced in (1) and (2) rendered Kuhn’s views more accurate and less comprehensive, and that thesis (3) was remained inadequately developed.