The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

by

Thomas S. Kuhn

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Dalton was an English scientist who lived during the 18th and 19th centuries. Though he initially started out as a meteorologist, Dalton ultimately became famous for his law of partial pressures, which viewed air pressure through a mechanical lens and thus cast doubt on much of Lavoisier’s work. Kuhn argues that Dalton was able to gain a unique perspective on air pressure specifically because he was trained in meteorology rather than chemistry.

John Dalton Quotes in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The The Structure of Scientific Revolutions quotes below are all either spoken by John Dalton or refer to John Dalton. 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:
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). 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 10 Quotes

Chemists could not, therefore, simply accept Dalton’s theory on the evidence, for much of that was still negative. Instead, even after accepting the theory, they had still to beat nature into line, a process which, in the event, took almost another generation. When it was done, even the percentage composition of well-known compounds was different. The data themselves had changed. That is the last of the senses in which we may want to say that after a revolution scientists work in a different world.

Related Characters: Thomas Kuhn (speaker), John Dalton
Page Number: 134
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:
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John Dalton Character Timeline in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The timeline below shows where the character John Dalton 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
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To exemplify this, Kuhn discusses the scientific revolution caused by John Dalton. For much of the 18th century, chemists worked under the paradigm of affinity theory, which... (full context)
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Perception and Truth Theme Icon
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Dalton was ultimately the one who overturned affinity theory with his famous atomic theory. However, Dalton... (full context)
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Though some chemists were deeply opposed to Dalton’s view, this new paradigm quickly proved more useful and efficient. Since even skilled scientists had... (full context)