Kuhn's evolutionary epistemology and its being undermined by inadequate biological concepts

Philosophy of Science 76 (2):143-159 (2009)
Kuhn made two attempts at providing an evolutionary analogy for scientific change. The first attempt, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , is very brief and unstructured; in this article I discuss some of its weaknesses. Alexander Bird takes this attempt more seriously and provides a criticism based on oversimplified evolutionary assumptions. These assumptions prove to be inadequate for the second, more articulate, evolutionary analogy suggested by Kuhn in “The Road since Structure.” I argue, however, that this second Kuhnian attempt is undermined by his inadequate view of biological progress and by his misunderstanding of the concept of ecological niche. *Received April 2008. †To contact the author, please write to: School of Politics, International Studies, and Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast, 21 University Square, Belfast, BT7 1PA Northern Ireland; e‐mail: b.g.renzi@qub.ac.uk.
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DOI 10.1086/647928
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