Thomas Kuhn's Relativistic Legacy

Blackwell Companion to Revlativism (ed. Steven Hales) (Blackwell, forthcoming).


The work of Thomas Kuhn is often held to be the origin of much of the relativism one finds in the philosophy of science and in science studies. Kuhn's relationship to relativism is, however, complex. In this article I examine and assess potential sources of relativism in (i) the paradigm concept; (ii) incommensurability; (iii) Kuhn's argument that truth is transcendent; (iv) Kuhn's claims about `world-change'. I conclude by looking at Kuhn's relativistic influence on the history of science and the sociology of science.