The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

by

Thomas S. Kuhn

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René Descartes Character Analysis

Most famous for his declaration “Cogito, ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”), Descartes was an important 17th-century French philosopher. In addition to linking the study of algebra to the study of geometry, Descartes pioneered what Kuhn calls the “mechanico-corpuscular” view of the universe. According to this view, all things in the universe were made of tiny bodies (corpuscles), and all motion was created by these corpuscles bumping into one another. Mechanico-corpuscular physics then cast doubt on Aristotle’s belief that objects had innate properties.
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René Descartes Character Timeline in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

The timeline below shows where the character René Descartes appears in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4. Normal Science as Puzzle-solving
Perception and Truth Theme Icon
Intuition and Emotion Theme Icon
Community and Knowledge Theme Icon
...to glean information. Second, there are “higher-level, quasi-metaphysical” beliefs that guide each paradigm. For example, Cartesian thinking (pioneered by René Descartes) told scientists that the entire world could be understood in... (full context)
Chapter 9. The Nature and Necessity of Scientific Revolutions
Linear Progress vs. Circular History Theme Icon
...objects had innate natures. This idea had been popularized by Aristotle, but by the 1700s, Descartes’s idea of moving bodies (his “mechanico-corpuscular” view of nature) had taken its place. Many people... (full context)
Linear Progress vs. Circular History Theme Icon
Perception and Truth Theme Icon
...Kuhn does not see any one paradigm as more legitimate than the others. For example, Cartesian scientists (those working in the paradigm established by Descartes) gave up looking for gravity because... (full context)