Kuhn's work falls into two main categories-his writings as a historian of science and his more controversial contribution to the philosophy and sociology of science. His former preoccupation appears to have influenced the latter domain but not vice versa. His reputation as a historian of science is indisputably solid, but his fame, transcending subject boundaries, rests primarily on The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which admirers and critics tend to concentrate on, often excluding much else which might serve to modify the dominant theme which appears to them to emerge from its initial publication in 1962.
That thesis is perceived to consist of: (i) a paradigm establishing itself constitutes the maturity of a science; (ii) paradigms (embodying exemplars) are scientific achievements universally recognized and accepted by the community of practitioners to provide model problems and solutions, permitting normal science to occur; (iii) paradigm changes involve revolutionary science; (iv) competing paradigms are incommensurable because each selects different problems as significant to solve, using in turn different standards to count as success of solution; furthermore, no common observational data exist that could function as a neutral standard for comparing them, as each involves perceiving different 'facts'; (v) neutral rules and facts cannot, therefore, determine paradigm change; (vi) paradigm change is accounted for by the decisions of the scientific community, namely, justification by authority of persons, not by impersonal criteria like logical or methodological rules.
Philosophers of science tend to conclude irrationalism or relativism from the above. If so, there can be no philosophy but only sociology (and history) of science. On the other hand, historians and sociologists of science, while welcoming the treatment of cognitive beliefs and interests by the ordinary methods of empirical sociology, nevertheless, think that Kuhn has underplayed the influence of external factors, such as political and social ones, on scientific research. Kuhn himself, however, moans that he has been much misunderstood. But he is satisfied that Hoyningen-Huene (1993) has done justice to the complexities of his own position and the controversies surrounding it since the publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
Kuhn shares with Popper the honour of laying the agenda, in the main, of (Anglo-American)