Skip to main content

Kuhn’s “wrong turning” and legacy today

Shan, Yafeng (2020) Kuhn’s “wrong turning” and legacy today. Synthese, 197 (1). pp. 381-406. ISSN 0039-7857. (doi:10.1007/s11229-018-1740-9) (KAR id:76186)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English
Download (546kB) Preview
[thumbnail of 10.1007_s11229-018-1740-9.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL


Alexander Bird indicates that the significance of Thomas Kuhn in the history of philosophy of science is somehow paradoxical. On the one hand, Kuhn was one of the most influential and important philosophers of science in the second half of the twentieth century. On the other hand, nowadays there is little distinctively Kuhn’s legacy in the sense that most of Kuhn’s work has no longer any philosophical significance. Bird argues that the explanation of the paradox of Kuhn’s legacy is that Kuhn took a direction opposite to that of the mainstream of the philosophy of science in his later academic career. This paper aims to provide a new way to understand and develop Kuhn’s legacy by revisiting the development of Kuhn’s philosophy of science in 1970s and proposing a new account of exemplar. Firstly, I propose my diagnosis of Kuhn’s “wrong turning” by identifying Kuhn’s two novel contributions: the introduction of paradigm and the proposal of the incommensurability thesis. Secondly, I argue that Kuhn made a conceptual/terminological turn from paradigm to theory, which undermined Kuhn’s novel contributions. Thirdly, I propose a new articulation of exemplar and propose an exemplar-based approach to analysing the history of science. Finally, I show how the exemplar-based approach can be applied to analyse the history of science by my case study of the early development of genetics.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s11229-018-1740-9
Uncontrolled keywords: Exemplar, The exemplar-based approach, Kuhn, The origin of genetics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Yafeng Shan
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2019 16:30 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:07 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Shan, Yafeng:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year