The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was first published in 1962, but it attracted so much attention and proved so disruptive that second, third, and fourth editions followed. It rapidly achieved the status of a classic in the history of science, and ultimately became one of the most cited books of the twentieth century.
Thomas Kuhn insightfully challenged our assumptions about how science works, but his peculiar style triggered a wave of misguided interpretations of his work, igniting a cultural movement within academia energized around the confused convictions that objective truth was an illusion and that scientific progress was just a conceit of western civilization. These ideas became pillars of postmodernism, and no one was more frustrated by the folly of their development than Thomas Kuhn himself. His book certainly deserved praise and attention, but it also made a spectacular mess of things. In this episode, I try to help clean it up.