Thought styles and paradigms—a comparative study of Ludwik Fleck and Thomas S. Kuhn

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):362–371 (2011)
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Abstract

At first glance there seem to be many similarities between Thomas S. Kuhn’s and Ludwik Fleck’s accounts of the development of scientific knowledge. Notably, both pay attention to the role played by the scientific community in the development of scientific knowledge. But putting first impressions aside, one can criticise some philosophers for being too hasty in their attempt to find supposed similarities in the works of the two men. Having acknowledged that Fleck anticipated some of Kuhn’s later theses, there seems to be a temptation in more recent research to equate both theories in important respects. Because of this approach, one has to deal with the problem of comparing the most notable technical terms of both philosophers, namely ‘‘thought style’’ and ‘‘paradigm’’. This paper aims at a more thorough comparison between Ludwik Fleck’s concept of thought style and Thomas Kuhn’s concept of paradigm. Although some philosophers suggest that these two concepts are essentially equal in content, a closer examination reveals that this is not the case. This thesis of inequality will be defended in detail, also taking into account some of the alleged similarities which may be responsible for losing sight of the differences between these theories.

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Nicola Mößner
Aachen University of Technology

Citations of this work

The many encounters of Thomas Kuhn and French epistemology.Simons Massimiliano - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61:41-50.
The emergence of objectivity: Fleck, Foucault, Kuhn and Hacking.Luca Sciortino - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 88 (1):128-137.
The Influence of James B. Conant on Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.K. Brad Wray - 2016 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 6 (1):1-23.

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References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Genesis and development of a scientific fact.Ludwik Fleck - 1979 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by T. J. Trenn & R. K. Merton.
Testimony: a philosophical study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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