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Paradigms in Structure: finally, a count


Following the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions the term paradigm became ubiquitous. It is now commonplace in academic writing across the disciplines. Though much has been written about Kuhn’s use of the term and its impact on other fields, there has not yet been a systematic study of how frequently Kuhn used the term in Structure. My aim in this paper is to provide such an analysis. I aim to answer the following questions: (1) How many times does Kuhn actually use the term in the book?; (2) What is the most number of times that he uses the term on a single page?; and (3) Is the term used evenly throughout the book or is it mentioned more often in some chapters than in others?

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  1. Oddly, in recounting this story in 1974, Kuhn would report that Masterman found 22 different uses of the term (see Kuhn 1974/1977, 294). Kuhn would make a similar mistake when he was discussing this during an interview near the end of his life, moving between 21 and 23 uses (see Kuhn 1997/2000, 300). Significantly, he does credit Masterman for the insight that “a paradigm is what you use when the theory isn’t there” (see Kuhn 1997/2000, 300).


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My research is supported by a grant from the Aarhus Universitets Forskningsfond — Starting Grant, AUFF-E-2017-FLS-7-3.

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Correspondence to K. Brad Wray.

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Wray, K.B. Paradigms in Structure: finally, a count. Scientometrics 125, 823–828 (2020).

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  • Paradigm
  • Kuhn
  • Structure of Scientific Revolutions