The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

by

Thomas S. Kuhn

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Structure of Scientific Revolutions can help.
Galileo was a 16th-century Italian scientist who made important contributions to both astronomy and physics. In astronomy, he helped prove and popularize Copernicus’s heliocentric model. In physics, Galileo pioneered new theories about the pendulum motion and rates of acceleration. His ideas overturned much of Aristotelian physics, which focused less on the similarities between objects and more on their innate (or elemental) differences.

Galileo Galilei Quotes in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The The Structure of Scientific Revolutions quotes below are all either spoken by Galileo Galilei or refer to Galileo Galilei. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Linear Progress vs. Circular History Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Chicago Press edition of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions published in 2012.
Chapter 8 Quotes

The marks on paper that were first seen as a bird are now seen as an antelope, or vice versa. That parallel can be misleading. […] the scientist does not preserve the gestalt subject’s freedom to switch back and forth between ways of seeing. Nevertheless, the switch of gestalt, particularly because it is today so familiar, is a useful elementary prototype for what occurs in full-scale paradigm shift.

Related Characters: Thomas Kuhn (speaker), Aristotle, Galileo Galilei
Related Symbols: Bird/Antelope
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

These examples point to the third and most fundamental aspect of the incommensurability of competing paradigms. In a sense that I am unable to explicate further, the proponents of competing paradigms practice their trades in different worlds. One contains constrained bodies that fall slowly, the other pendulums that repeat their motions again and again. In one, solutions are compounds, in the other mixtures. One is embedded in a flat, the other in a curved, matrix of space.

Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Structure of Scientific Revolutions LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions PDF

Galileo Galilei Character Timeline in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The timeline below shows where the character Galileo Galilei appears in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10. Revolutions as Changes of World View
Perception and Truth Theme Icon
Intuition and Emotion Theme Icon
Normal Science vs. Extraordinary Science Theme Icon
The most dramatic example of this shift in perception occurred with Galileo. Aristotle explained the pendulum by saying that heavy objects naturally fall, and the object at... (full context)
Linear Progress vs. Circular History Theme Icon
Perception and Truth Theme Icon
Normal Science vs. Extraordinary Science Theme Icon
Kuhn notes that Galileo’s “shift of vision” did occur in part because of “his individual genius.” But at the... (full context)
Linear Progress vs. Circular History Theme Icon
Perception and Truth Theme Icon
Intuition and Emotion Theme Icon
But if Galileo had gleaned insight from impetus theory, which was compatible with an old paradigm, Kuhn believes... (full context)
Chapter 11. The Invisibility of Revolutions
Linear Progress vs. Circular History Theme Icon
Intuition and Emotion Theme Icon
Community and Knowledge Theme Icon
Normal Science vs. Extraordinary Science Theme Icon
...own paradigms, even some scientists themselves participate in this historical erasure. For example, Newton credits Galileo with discovering gravity in a Newtonian way, when in fact Galileo belonged to a different... (full context)
Chapter 12. The Resolution of Revolutions
Perception and Truth Theme Icon
Intuition and Emotion Theme Icon
Community and Knowledge Theme Icon
Kuhn now 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... (full context)
Postscript - 1969
Intuition and Emotion Theme Icon
Community and Knowledge Theme Icon
Normal Science vs. Extraordinary Science Theme Icon
...this, Kuhn references the phrase “actual descent equals potential ascent”—this is a law built on Galileo’s experiments rolling a ball down an incline. These words mean nothing to a student who... (full context)