Thomas Kuhn's Historiographical Method and Its Importance from the Point of View of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge

Libor Benda



Thomas Kuhn's importance for further development of thinking about science and, in particular, for the rise of the sociology of scientific knowledge is usually associated with his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, whereas his preceding historical works are seldom reflected in this regard. This paper analyzes the latter and attempts to describe the methodology of Kuhn's approach to the history of science applied in them. By comparing it with the tenets of the early sociology of scientific knowledge (Barry Barnes, David Bloor), the paper attempts to find out to what extent should Kuhn's historical works be recognized as influential from the perspective of sociological approach. Since these works originated at the time when historiography of science was under strong influence of Alexandre Koyré, the paper also examines the methodology of his works and evaluates how much Kuhn's approach surpasses standard post-war historiography of science in the vein of Koyré's tradition.


Thomas Samuel Kuhn; historiography of science; sociology of scientific knowledge; strong programme; Alexandre Koyré

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: