Kuhn, Carnap, and logical empiricism
Irzık, Gürol (2017) Kuhn, Carnap, and logical empiricism. In: Uebel, Thomas, (ed.) The Handbook of Logical Empiricism. Routledge, NewYork and London. (Accepted/In Press)
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According to the conventional wisdom, Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn 1970; henceforth SSR) (i) played a major role in the demise of logical empiricism (henceforth LE) by (ii) demolishing its key tenets and replacing them with an alternative picture of science that has virtually nothing in common with them. However, the relationship between Kuhn’s views and LE is not at all as straightforward as this claim suggests. While (i) is undoubtedly correct, the revisionist historiography of LE in the last two-and-a-half decades documented that (ii) is far from truth. In this chapter I highlight the major findings of this historiography, focusing on “the Carnap-Kuhn connection”. In section 2 I summarize and evaluate Kuhn’s critique of LE and then present his alternative account in SSR. In section 3 I compare Carnap’s conception of science with that of Kuhn’s, limiting myself to the SSR. In section 4 I expand my comparison by taking into account Kuhn’s later views. In section 5 I briefly mention some of the other logical empiricists’ views that are in company with Kuhn’s. In section 6 I turn to the fundamental differences between Kuhn and Carnap.
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