Thomas Kuhn has often been depicted as a historian of science who envisioned a discontinuous pattern at the beginning of his career, and who then improved it on the basis of different approaches—a naturalistic, social-based one near the early 1960s, and a language-based one from the early 1980s on. However, a closer look at several stages of his intellectual life shows a different picture. It seems that it would be more appropriate to depict him as a physicist who soon turned to the philosophy of physics (and then of science at large), and that he opted for a historical approach to science rather than a logical one as a fruitful point of view. A brief examination of three stages of that intellectual development shall help to illustrate this point: first, his early days in philosophy around the early 1950s; then the years from 1975 to 1987, when a new explanation of scientific revolutions began to emerge; and finally, the ultimate results that he rendered in his ultimately incomplete The Plurality of Worlds (1994–1995). On the basis of these three stages, I hope to prove that Kuhn is more appropriately interpreted as a philosopher who tried hard to clear up the details involved in a picture of science he had obtained at the beginning of his career, and whose methodology did not change significantly.
Juan Vicente Mayoral is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Zaragoza, Spain. He obtained BA in Humanities in 1996, with Extraordinary Prize (highest marks, Class of 1996), at the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Facultad de Humanidades de Toledo), Spain. He specialised in Philosophy of Science at the graduate school in the Department of Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain. In 2004, I obtained my Doctoral degree, with Extraordinary Prize, too. Mayoral spent the 2007–2008 academic year at the University of Cambridge, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, as a Post-doctoral Fellow under the supervision of Professor Martin Kusch, thanks to a grant of the Spanish Government. In the summer of 2008, he joined the University of Zaragoza as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to a permanent position in 2017. Mayoral is the author of the biographical book Thomas S. Kuhn: La búsqueda de la estructura, and the co-editor of the volume Wittgenstein: La superación del escepticismo (with David Pérez Chico). He is also the author of many papers and book chapters on Thomas Kuhn’s biography and philosophy—his main focus of interest.