Dr. Thomas Kuhn - 1922-1996
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 96 16:46:35 -0800
Subject: Dr. Thomas Kuhn - 1922-1996
[For a copy of one of the obits, see:
Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <email@example.com>
Forwarded-by: Terry Labach <terry>
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From: John Naughton
Thomas Kuhn died June 17, and nobody noticed. Well, nobody except The New
York Times and The Boston Globe, which were the only major newspapers in
the United States to run his obituary that week. If you wanted a testimony
to "the dumbing of America," then this was it. A society that worships
Forrest Gump and pays $100-million to see Disney bowdlerize Victor Hugo is
hardly going to be surprised to learn that Dr. Kuhn is dead; it never even
know he was alive.
Yet Dr. Kuhn was one of the great figures of our times, and the only
philosopher of science to rival Karl Popper in the seductiveness and power
of his ideas. He wrote one of the seminal short books of the century, The
Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which has sold more than one million
copies and is still essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the
history or philosophy of science. He coined the phrase "paradigm shift,"
which is endlessly parroted. And, like Dr. Popper, Dr. Kuhn changed
forever the way we think about the nature and production of organized
knowledge. What more, one wonders, do you have to do to get an obituary in
the Los Angeles Times?
-- John Naughton, in the Observer.
© 1996 Peter Langston