Essay on Relevance of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn in Todays Society

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Middlebury College
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It is astonishing to see how a simple quest to know how much knowledge Aristotle had on the subject of mechanics led to the coining of one of the most famous phrases, Paradigm Shift, and a book that has been cited by thousands in their scholarly work. Kuhn, the author of the book, unveiled a very compelling nature of scientific advancement. Through a critical analysis of the past scientific development, he realized that the process was rather a revolutionary and not the evolutionary, a common belief held by the predecessor school. In lay, this means that, rather than building upon a given concept about the world, science develops by replacing that concept with a new one (Bird, 2017).

After reading the book, the first thing the reader will appreciate is the importance of change of thinking. In the words of a renowned, The Guardian, writer John Naughton, its not the infectiousness of his concepts but in the fact that he single-handedly changed the way we think about mankinds most organized attempt to understand the world(Naughton, 2017).

Just like he mentions in the book, the change in paradigm is driven by agents of change and the world today cannot fail to recognize that the importance of signs around us. The Internet and invention of personal computers have impacted almost all areas of our lives. They have become a catalyst for change from the traditional mechanistic and industrial society to a more information focused and service based society (Martin,2017).

To show how the Kuhns views in his book are still influential and relevant in todays society, this paper will explore the following thesis statement that;

For people to make the biggest strides in improving the community, they should approach the challenges differently from the conventional prescribed methods. A new thinking leads to better solutions.

In the book, Kuhn dedicates an entire chapter six to show how anomalies play a significant role in the paradigm shift. When the present theories or systems do not adequately address the issues pressing the society, there is a creation of disruptions or what he terms as anomalies. He gives a fascinating example of the Discovery of oxygen. At one time in history, scientists did not know the theory of combustion where oxygen bonds with carbon to release heat. They believed combustion was a process of releasing a substance they referred to as phlogiston. This theory, however, failed to explain a lot of things around combustion and scientists had to approach the process with a different view. These anomalies are therefore essential agents of change facilitate a shift. Similarly, to overcome the challenges of todays society, people need a new perspective of the theories that have failed to solve them (Koff,1999).

Another area that Kuhns view could help in getting a solution is education. According to an article by Weissmann, (2017), about 53% of Americas recent university graduates are either underemployed or unemployed. The current education system is churning out job seekers rather than graduates with skills they can use to create their jobs. If one were to look at the education system from Kuhns perspective, they would conclude that the concept is failing to solve the societys challenges. It is not resolving the effects the increased population growth and increase access to education, which is flooding the job market. A fascinating illustration, by Smekens & Smekens, (2017), shows how the current education system fails to account for the emotional, physical and mental differences among the students and treated them as widgets which are not right. The only way the society will progress and improve its status is by appreciating the concept of the paradigm shift. It has to admit the present system has numerous anomalies and there is a need for disruption and introduction of a new model.

For even people who have never heard about Thomas Kuhn, the first thing that will come to their mind upon hearing the phrase paradigm shift is Internet. The Internet has become synonymous to information, but before its invention, there was no way a person could access the amount of information with just a click of a button like now. In a documentary about the invention of Internet, the narrator mentions the critical role of the computer in preparing the world for Internet. In the 1960s, a computer was just a mere tool that helped in word processing and gaming. It was the urge to collaborate in developing software that gave birth to networking ideas. At first, the networking of computers could only be possible, from a single location, but when the open source developing community became large, they had to shift to web networking (("Internet Revolution - Worldwide Web (A Global Network Of Computer Base Communication System)," 2017)

Back to Kuhns book in chapter 10, the author mentions that though, a variety of schools such as Aristotelian and Platonic profoundly influenced Galileo's pendulums, he did not engulf his ideas within their boundaries. He changed the approach on physics of motion, and this led to more accurate and reasonable explanations which have benefited, by large, the society up to date (Kuhn,1970)

In todays society, the idea of Internet has changed. It is not only limited to sharing information from one personal computer to the other anymore. There is an emerging discipline of Internet of Things (IoT) where a range of devices can communicate to each other. In fact, a driverless car, thanks to IoT, is already in use in a Dubai! Who would have thought that the once used tool, as a word processor would lead to driverless cars? This emphasizes the idea of thinking differently away from the present models, a view that Kuhn postulates through out his book (Agrawal & Das,2011)

In conclusion, the view of Kuhn on science as revolutionary and not evolutionary process is an enlightening perspective that can help todays society in solving its problems and improves the lives of people. As it has been shown, the reason why systems such as the education are failing, it is because the society has turned a blind eye of different approaches while the world is changing. The sectors, such as information technology, which have embraced whole new approaches, are making even bigger strides in improving the lives of people.


Bird, A. (2017). Thomas Kuhn. Retrieved 7 September 2017, from

Agrawal, S., & Das, M. L. (2011, December). Internet of ThingsA paradigm shift of future Internet applications. In Engineering (NUiCONE), 2011 Nirma University International Conference on (pp. 1-7). IEEE.

Internet Revolution - Worldwide Web (A Global Network Of Computer Base Communication System). (2017). YouTube. Retrieved 7 September 2017, from

Koff, W., Gustafson, P., & Braun, E. (1999). The era of digital disruptions: Exploring the next technology wave. Computer Sciences Corporation document on www. csc. com.

Kuhn, T. S. (1970). BOOK AND FILM REVIEWS: Revolutionary View of the History of Science: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The Physics Teacher, 8(2), 96-98.Kurose, J. F. (2005). Computer networking: A top-down approach featuring the internet, 3/E. Pearson Education India.

Smekens, T., & Smekens, T. (2017). Education Reform Needs a Paradigm Shift - Muncie Voice. Muncie Voice. Retrieved 6 September 2017, from

Weissmann, J. (2017). 53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or UnderemployedHow?. The Atlantic. Retrieved 6 September 2017, from

Martin, W. J. (2017). The global information society. Taylor & Francis.

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