Unquestionably the most significant and challenging development in the historiography of science in the last decade is the theory of Thomas S. Kuhn. Without defending Kuhn’s questionable subjectivist and relativistic philosophy, his contribution is a brilliant sociological insight into the ways in which scientific theories change and develop.
Essentially, Kuhn’s theory is a critical challenge to what might be called the “Whig theory of the history of science.” This “Whig” theory, which until Kuhn was the unchallenged orthodoxy in the field, sees the progress of science as a gradual, continuous, ever-upward process; year by year, decade by decade, century by century, the body of scientific knowledge gradually grows and accretes through the process of framing hypotheses, testing them empirically, and discarding the invalid and keeping the valid theories. Every age stands on the shoulders of and sees further and more clearly than every preceding age. FULL ARTICLE