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John A. Schuster

Hi Eric, Your comment on my 'historiographical mistake' is founded in the end on challenging my assessment of the import for Kuhn of his responses to and uses of Koyre. You offer in the short space available here little evidence against what, as a general statement, I would think has been obvious since the early 60s...to wit Koyre was crucial. If you or your audience wish to read further, please go to my website and check the draft article on 'the younger Kuhn and Koyre' which will appear in a collection on Koyre later this year. In reviewing Marcum, I had my work in that paper in mind, not so much or centrally my student memories of Kuhn. The Kuhn/Koyre paper examines the younger Kuhn's uses, modifications, blind spots etc in taking on board his reading of Koyre in the interest not so much of philosophy of science but rather of his modeling science dynamics and mapping the history of science. The review as itself an exemplar of 'sound intellectual history practice' does not discuss Koyre's influcence upon Kuhn, since there was none--only Kuhn's varied uses of material he took to be the important or correct 'Koyre'. I am amazed and pleased that you have hopped onto my Marcum review almost instantaneously. I hope that disseminates it more widely. The link to the draft paper in question is in the 'Research' part of my website
A longer version of the NDPR review is in the 'book reviews' section of same. Amongst other things, It does contain some 'grad student memories' of Errol Morris, whose famous 'Kuhn threw and ashtray at me' NYT article, is cited by Marcum to not very convincing effect. I hope other former history of science students of Kuhn get onto this blog, it might prove very interesting, especially to Marcum.

Eric Schliesser

Thank you for your response, Professor Schuster. First, my post is about the general structure of arguments that rely on student memories. My post avoids engagement with your evidence because your book review provides no support for the claims it wishes to establish. That it may be taken to do so is a fallacy.
The kinds of arguments in the paper you mention are worth taking seriously; in fact, I would be the last to deny that it is worth knowing Koyre when studying Kuhn. (My very first professional paper was prompted by that fact.) Having said that, there are quite a few other characters (Meyerson, Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, Conant, Pareto, etc.) that are also incredibly important to understanding Kuhn's thought--and they tend to be ignored.

John A. Schuster

You are correct, Eric: the evidence for my description of the relation of Kuhn, as a younger historian/historical theorist, to Koyre is not in the review but in the paper I mention in note 1 of the review and in my first comment above. In addition, I think a fair reading, and the one I intended, of the little story about Kuhn and first year grad students is this: it is an anecdote serving to introduce my 'mention' of the kinds of matters at stake for the younger historian Kuhn in re Koyre as flagged (not evidenced/documented) in the next paragraph of the review which ends with the reference to the paper. So, I suppose that a sharp 'DA' might indict me for a grad student historiographical pitfall, but my defence barrister would say, 'no such claim was made or intended on the basis of the autobiographical anecdote offered'--it was just a piece of teasing entertainment. Its purpose was to lead to the flagging in the review of the meaty claims in the paper, and also, frankly, to reinforce before the fact, my view that Marcum would have been better advised to have spoken to a wider range of Kuhn's students, particularly in history of science, particularly from Princeton. I certainly agree with your list at the end of your reply. Remember, however, my focus in the Kuhn/Koyre paper and hence behind my slant toward Marcum, is Kuhn leading up to SSR as an historian pondering both blow by blow science dynamics and macro patterns in the history of physical science (and in how to read primary sources in history of science)...enter, for better and worse, Koyre. My statements in the review sound categorical due to enforced brevity. So, I move you drop the charges vs me (in this particular matter) while I endorse your desire to police this genre of pitfall. If you detect a different instance of this category of mistake in my work, let me know--we shall reconvene the court for more interesting and entertaining argument.
You may be interested to know that Kuhn, in my experience, never recommended to history of science students that they read Weber, Parsons or Pareto. He would mention Conant, but most especially Meyerson who was often in his off the cuff bibliographical lists. Luckily, in the Princeton History Department people like Lawrence Stone did recommend reading Weber, and since we were not averse at all to sociology, a brush with Merton often led to a visit to Parsons, if not Pareto, in the stacks of the Firestone Library. As I mention Kuhn had no feeling for, or apparent interest in, anything on the spectrum micro sociology, phenomenological sociology, interpretive sociology, ethnomethodology. [I do not thereby endorse the modern descendants of these initiatives, although I learned much from their early exponents that helped me think about 'normal science' dynamics and historical process in general, as I hint in the review. Again, thanks for kicking my brain into gear this very stormy afternoon on the East Coast of Oz.

Eric Schliesser

A blogger ought not criticize teasing entertainment. So the case is dropped. Cheers!

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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