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Kuhn vs Popper - About James H. Collier

Kuhn vs Popper - About James H. Collier

aggressive placement of

aggressive placement of disciples in academic posts(not least Hans-Georg Gadamer), have contributedto the image of Heidegger as someone engaged in a‘life project’ that probed more widely and deeplythan his rivals’ worthy but more disparate inquiries.Questions about the relative depth of Heidegger’sphilosophical project are certainly possible, andeven desirable, given that greater recognitionof Heidegger’s singular ‘genius’ has historicallycoincided with greater awareness of his Nazi past. Itis easy to imagine a considered judgement by futureintellectual historians that might be today regardedas cynical: ‘The status of Heidegger’s philosophywas artificially magnified in the late 20th century toavoid having to face the full normative implicationsof a “life of the mind” so radically detachedfrom the concerns of ordinary humanity.’ I believesomething similar may be worth saying aboutKuhn’s status.192

. CHAPTER 17 .IS THOMAS KUHN THEAMERICAN HEIDEGGER?I remember being invited to a seminar at Princetonorganized by undergraduates during the [1968student revolts]. And I kept saying, ‘But I didn’tsay that! But I didn’t say that! But I didn’t saythat!’ And finally, a student of mine … said to thestudents, ‘You have to realize that in terms ofwhat you are thinking of, this is a profoundlyconservative book’. And it is; I mean, in the sensethat I was trying to explain how it could be thatthe most rigid of all disciplines, and in certaincircumstances the most authoritarian, could alsobe the most creative of novelty.Thomas Kuhn, from his last major interview(1995), reprinted in The Road since StructureThe recipe [for a successful science], according to[Kuhn’s social science followers], is to restrictcriticism, to reduce the number of comprehensivetheories to one, and to create a normal science thathas this one theory as its paradigm. Students mustbe prevented from speculating along different lines193

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