The Perihelion Effect

Thomas S. Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Well, here I am at the end. “Fine, so I was wrong, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was not totally awful” I say to myself now. It was thick going though. But Kuhn’s style and wit become apparent if you are willing to go with the book for awhile. Wit? Yes, I found the book to be superb in its ability to remain fully philosophical in the tradition of the Logical Positivists and yet able lose their imposing tone of self proclaimed brilliance. Kuhn’s manifold historical examples are aimed at the un-initiated Historian of Science, and for that I am grateful. I guess now that I have finally read it I will be able to join the ranks of privileged name droppers. However, rather than try to alienate the would-be-scholar with pompous references to the books great importance, I think I’ll tell him that the book is truly worth reading. In all honesty I think I can say at least that . 


Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions p.7  ibid p.10  ibid, p.15  ibid, p. 16  ibid, p. 36  ibid. p. 120  ibid. p. 171


I had wanted to read the book for a long time. Something had prevented me. “There’s never enough time to do the things that you think you ought to do because you’ve heard they’re good for you” I said to myself. I had been hearing about this book for a long time.

Historians of Science always quoted it in their books. Many of my Professors used all of its catchy phraseology in my classes. But somehow I imagined that when I sat down to read the darn thing that it would be one of those “What have I been reading for the last hour and a half?-long drawn out-I can’t stand this any more!- pseudo philosophical- confused- thick to no end- technical- “gotta do this for an assignment”- books. The promo on the cover of the book called it “A landmark in intellectual history”. “Sure” I thought to myself “Every pretentious book is a freakin’ ‘landmark’. Finally it was getting close to the time this paper was coming due and I still hadn’t read it. “Well lets just see about this ‘landmark'” I said to myself picking it up for the first time. I opened it and read the first paragraph, pretty fast, and thought “Not as rough as I thought” Something funny began to happen. I read, and read and read until my eyes were watering and my head was spinning. The thing was I couldn’t stop.

“Oh my God!” I thought. “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is living up to its reputation.”

Joseph Asher Schuster

Vassar College 1986