The Politics of Paradigms
Thomas S. Kuhn, James B. Conant, and the Cold War “Struggle for Men’s Minds”
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Uncovers long-ignored political themes—ideology, propaganda, mind-control, and Orwellian history—at work within the pages of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
The Politics of Paradigms shows that America's most famous and influential book about science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions of 1962, was inspired and shaped by Thomas Kuhn's political interests, his relationship with the influential cold warrior James Bryant Conant, and America's McCarthy-era struggle to resist and defeat totalitarian ideology. Through detailed archival research, Reisch shows how Kuhn's well-known theories of paradigms, crises, and scientific revolutions emerged from within urgent political worries—on campus and in the public sphere—about the invisible, unconscious powers of ideology, language, and history to shape the human mind and its experience of the world.
George A. Reisch is managing editor of The Monist and series editor for Open Court Publishing Company's series Popular Culture and Philosophy.
"The book is … full of new information, new insights and thought-provoking connections. It should be required reading for everyone interested in Kuhn's Structure, its sources and its political and cultural background." — Metascience
"Impressive archival research into the entirety of Kuhn's publications, manuscript drafts, and letters exposes how his understanding of scientific revolutions was assembled … Highly recommended." — CHOICE
"This book raises and explores important questions about the ideological background of some of the most important work in the philosophy of science in the twentieth century. It challenges conventional wisdom about the ideological neutrality of that work." — Peter S. Fosl, editor of The Big Lebowski and Philosophy: Keeping Your Mind Limber with Abiding Wisdom