Summary: One of the most important books in science and philosophy of the 20th century.
Most people understand science as a clean, straightforward discipline that progresses in a linear fashion, as each generation builds upon the previous’ discoveries and research, inexorably culminating into a more complete understanding of the physical world. Kuhn shows this to be an utter misconception.
Traditional, mundane, day-to-day science involves answering obscure and/or secondary questions within an existing paradigm of belief that is accepted a priori–and this is a good thing. “Regular science” doesn’t aim to disrupt the existing paradigms; quite the opposite–it aims to solidify and strengthen them.
Kuhn shows why this is a necessary condition for an environment that develops and ultimately does challenge and overturn paradigms, but a key point is that scientists are often dragged kicking and screaming into those new ones. Scientists are not unbiased, and they are not apolitical, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to dishonesty, either.
The point is that the development of science over the centuries has been messy, contrary to the popular understanding of it as a monolithic discipline that speaks unified truths authoritatively. Kuhn’s content is advanced and requires effort to engage, but it is rewarding nonetheless, and should be fascinating and useful to anyone wanting to better understand science.