Mon Mar 7, 2011
It was April, 1972. The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N. J. The home in the 1950s of Albert Einstein and Kurt Gödel. Thomas Kuhn, the author of “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” and the father of the paradigm shift, threw an ashtray at my head. It had all begun six months earlier. “Under no circumstances are you to go to those lectures. Do you hear me?” Kuhn, the head of the Program in the History and Philosophy of Science at Princeton where I was a graduate student, had issued an ultimatum. It concerned the philosopher Saul Kripke’s lectures — later to be called “Naming and Necessity” — which he had originally given at Princeton in 1970 and planned to give again in the Fall, 1972. But what was Kuhn’s problem with Kripke?