Kuhn, naturalism and the positivist legacy

I defend against criticism the following claims concening Thomas Kuhn: (i) there is a strong naturalist streak in The structure of scientific revolutions, whereby Kuhn used the results of a posteriori enquiry in addressing philosophical questions; (ii) as Kuhn's career as a philosopher of science developed he tended to drop the naturalistic elements and to replace them with more traditionally philosophical a prior approaches; (iii) at the same there is a significant residue of positivist thought in Kuhm, which Kuhn did not recognise as such; (iv) the naturalist elements referred to in (i) are the most original and fruitful elements of Kuhn's thinking; (v) the positivistic elements referred to in (iii) vitiated his thought and acted as factors in preventing Kuhn from developing the naturalistic elemtns and from following the path taken by much subsequent philosophy of science. Preston presents an alternative reading of Kuhn which emphasizes the Wittgensteinian elements in Kuhn. I argue that this alternative view is, descriptively, poorly supported by the textual evidence and the facts of the history of philosophy of science in the twentieth century. I provide some defence of the naturalistic approach and related themes.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2004.01.001
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References found in this work BETA
T. S. Kuhn (1970). Logic Ofdiscovery or Psychology of Research. In Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.), Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press 22.
Nancy Nersessian (2003). Kuhn, Conceptual Change, and Cognitive Science. In Tom Nickles (ed.), Thomas Kuhn. Cambridge University Press 179-211.
Thomas S. Kuhn (1977). Second Thoughts on Paradigms. In F. Suppe (ed.), The Essential Tension. University of Chicago Press 293--319.

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