The Early Days of a Better Nation

Monday, March 11, 2013

Only the truth is revolutionary

I'm inordinately proud to have an article with the above title in the current issue (#35) of Perspectives, the quarterly journal of Democratic Left Scotland. The article is about Thomas Kuhn's influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). I think I've given a clear and fair summary of Kuhn's argument, and a brief account of the objections to it, some of which I share. Kuhn concludes that we can't say one paradigm is closer to the truth than another. Given that (e.g.) our space probes don't crash into crystal spheres, this strikes me as mistaken.

Perspectives is an interesting and readable magazine of political and cultural discussion. In particular, it's one of the few places on the left where you can find a civilised and informed conversation about what's going on in Scotland in the run-up to the independence referendum. It has a fine pessimism of the intelligence, if perhaps a little less optimism of the will than I would like. To say that you don't agree with everything in it would be to miss and to make its point. Many of its back issues are available online. At £8 a year for a sub (£10 Europe, £12 rest of world), it's a steal.


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