The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

by

Thomas S. Kuhn

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Antoine Lavoisier Character Analysis

Lavoisier was an 18th-century French chemist. Toward the end of the 1700s, scientists across Europe were trying to understand combustion (how fire worked). Lavoisier, a prominent French philosopher and court administrator, had initially subscribed to the phlogiston theory, which dictated that there were special fiery substances (“phlogistons”) in the air. As he conducted more and more experiments, however, Lavoisier began to believe that combustion was less about fiery substances and more about the way different chemical compounds interacted with one another. Ultimately, Lavoisier’s experiments led him to discover oxygen as a unique compound and to develop a new understanding of chemical reactivity.
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Antoine Lavoisier Character Timeline in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The timeline below shows where the character Antoine Lavoisier appears in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1. Introduction: A Role for History
Normal Science vs. Extraordinary Science Theme Icon
...Several of the most well-known revolutions are associated with scientists Nicolaus Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Antoine Lavoisier, and Albert Einstein. However, Kuhn believes that many less famous scientific revolutions are equally important. (full context)
Chapter 6. Anomaly and the Emergence of Scientific Discovery
Linear Progress vs. Circular History Theme Icon
...trying to isolate one gas from the other gases in the air, while others (like Lavoisier) were making sense of oxygen in terms of atoms and chemical energy. Real discovery, then,... (full context)
Linear Progress vs. Circular History Theme Icon
Intuition and Emotion Theme Icon
Lavoisier’s discovery of oxygen initiated a paradigm shift. But Kuhn is careful to point out that... (full context)
Chapter 7. Crisis and the Emergence of Scientific Theories
Linear Progress vs. Circular History Theme Icon
Community and Knowledge Theme Icon
As with Copernicus, Lavoisier’s discovery of oxygen came out of a crisis—and as with Copernicus, many scientists thinking about... (full context)
Chapter 9. The Nature and Necessity of Scientific Revolutions
Community and Knowledge Theme Icon
...electricity, it helped scientists think through conduction as a built-in property. In chemistry, it allowed Lavoisier to build experiments based on the innate attractions of various chemical particles.   (full context)
Chapter 12. The Resolution of Revolutions
Perception and Truth Theme Icon
Intuition and Emotion Theme Icon
Community and Knowledge Theme Icon
...turns his attention to scientists who have truly discovered something new (like Copernicus, Galileo, and Lavoisier). How did these men persuade their colleagues and ensure that their paradigms were the successful... (full context)