Descriptions of Scientific Revolutions

Rorty’s Failure at Redescribing Scientific Progress

  • Kyle Cavagnini
Keywords: philosophy, scientific revolutions, rorty


The twentieth century saw extended development in the philosophy of science to incorporate contemporary expansions of scientific theory and investigation. Richard Rorty was a prominent and rather controversial thinker who maintained that all progress, from social change to scientific inquiry, was achieved through the redescription of existing vocabularies. However, this theory fails to describe revolutionary scientific progress. Thomas Kuhn’s theories of paradigm change, as first described in his seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, better portray this process. I attempt to show this by applying Kuhn’s and Rorty’s views to examples of scientific progress and comparing the results.

How to Cite
Cavagnini, K. (2012). Descriptions of Scientific Revolutions: Rorty’s Failure at Redescribing Scientific Progress. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal, 5(1), 31-43. Retrieved from