I was dragging my feet a little towards the end, but I finally finished Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I highly recommend it. It's a very functionalist, pragmatic understanding of science (unbelievably pragmatist in flavor - it was a good one to read right after reading The Metaphysical Club). I wish he contrasted his project with that of Popper earlier because I think people get the wrong idea in comparing the two. Kuhn is not interested in epistemology. When he finally picks up Popper towards the end of the book, he points out that he had only used the word "truth" once in the whole book (and that was when he was quoting Francis Bacon). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is not about establishing truth - it is about the process by which a common set of understandings, definitions, theories, etc. (a "paradigm") emerges historically to be productive in explaining observed phenomenon. It is about the emergence, endurance, and reformation of distinct ways of talking about and understanding the world.
I've started reading a somewhat more obscure book - David M. Hart's Forged Consensus: Science, Technology, and Economic Policy in the United States, 1921-1953. I think it's fairly well known in the science and technology policy community, but it's not a landmark book like Kuhn. Very good so far - he's trying to take the whole Vannevar Bush story of the emergence of science policy in the mid-forties, and stretch it back to Hoover's time as Commerce Secretary in the twenties, and incorporate a lot of other actors and factions that are usually excluded from the traditional Vannevar Bush narrative.
Procrastinating on June 29, 2016
1 hour ago