Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 257–287 | Cite as

Kuhn Meets Maslow: The Psychology Behind Scientific Revolutions

  • Boris Kožnjak


In this paper, I offer a detailed reconstruction and a critical analysis of Abraham Maslow’s neglected psychological reading of Thomas Kuhn’s famous dichotomy between ‘normal’ and ‘revolutionary’ science, which Maslow briefly expounded four years after the first edition of Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in his small book The Psychology of Science: A Reconnaissance (1966), and which relies heavily on his extensive earlier general writing in the motivational and personality psychology. Maslow’s Kuhnian ideas, put forward as part of a larger program for the psychology of science, outlined already in his 1954 magnum opus Motivation and Personality, are analyzed not only in the context of Kuhn’s original ‘psychologizing’ attitude toward understanding the nature and development of science, but also in a broader historical, intellectual and social context.


Thomas Kuhn Abraham Maslow Normal science Revolutionary science Psychology of science Philosophy of science 



Many thanks to Gregory Feist for his interest in my work on the Maslovian Kuhn and to his valuable comments and advices, to Steve Fuller for precious bits of information about the relationship between Kuhn and Maslow, especially for informing me about the existence of the Maslow-Kuhn correspondence and for discussing its content and context, to Myles Crowley of the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections for his complaisant assistance in accessing the mentioned correspondence in the Thomas S. Kuhn Papers, to Pavel Gregorić for his careful reading of the manuscript and his suggestions, and, last but not least, to two anonymous reviewers for providing constructive comments and suggestions that have essentially improved the quality of the paper. This work has been fully supported by the Croatian Science Foundation under the project number 5343.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhilosophyZagrebCroatia

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