Stephen C. Pepper and Thomas Kuhn

Stephen C. Pepper was the professor who brought [Thomas S. Kuhn (1922—1996)]( to U.C. Berkeley. World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence (1942) might be seen as a foreshadowing of [_The Structure of Scientific Revolutions_]( in 1972.

In 1956, Pepper would have been 65 years old, and on the faculty of U.C. Berkeley for 37 years. The poor response to Kuhn's publication of _The Copernican Revolution_ led the philosopher west, says the [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy](

> In 1956, Harvard denied Kuhn tenure because the tenure committee felt his book on the Copernican revolution was too popular in its approach and analysis. A friend of Kuhn knew Steven Pepper, who was chair of the philosophy department at the University of California at Berkeley. Kuhn’s friend told Pepper that Kuhn was looking for an academic position. Pepper’s department was searching for someone to establish a program in the history and philosophy of science. Berkeley eventually offered Kuhn a position in the philosophy department and later asked if he also wanted an appointment in the history department. Kuhn accepted both positions and joined the Berkeley faculty as an assistant professor. [....] > In 1958, Berkeley promoted Kuhn to associate professor and granted him tenure.

The alignment of philosophical interests between Pepper and Kuhn are described in a [2009 article by Keay Davidson for the Cal Alumni Association]( Kuhn was not promoted to full professor at Berkeley, leading up to the 1972 _The Structure of Scientific Revolutions_, with Pepper having retired in 1958.

> In 1956, Kuhn left Harvard for California after being vigorously championed by the chair of Berkeley’s philosophy department at the time, Stephen Pepper. A distinguished philosopher of aesthetics, Pepper hired Kuhn out of fear that American philosophy departments -- among them, Berkeley’s -- were being invaded by the “logical positivist” movement. He believed Kuhn would counterbalance the trend. Logical positivism’s cardinal traits included its desire to make philosophy more “scientific” and to dissolve philosophical debates over metaphysics, which positivists viewed as empty squabbles caused by the misuse of words. Pepper apparently figured he could counter positivist influence within the department by hiring a historian of science who had strong scientific credentials and yet was skeptical about key aspects of the positivistic agenda. > Kuhn’s time at Berkeley was a mixed blessing. He and his family loved the community and made many friends, thanks considerably to his wife Kathryn’s skill at throwing dinner parties. He enjoyed a new sense of prestige (likely owing much to the publication of the highly praised The Copernican Revolution and to Pepper’s personal enthusiasm for him) that no doubt encouraged him in writing Structure. On the other hand, there were emotional tensions between Kuhn and his allies, as well as his critics, in the history and philosophy departments. In both departments, there were certain scholars who didn’t find what Kuhn was doing to be particularly interesting. [....] > Ironically, on the eve of Structure‘s publication [i.e. 1972, says David], Berkeley’s senior philosophers denied Kuhn’s bid for full professorial status in the most overt way—by voting to eject him from the department altogether. (Pepper had retired in 1958.) Kuhn had always yearned to be accepted as a philosopher; decades later, he recalled the vote as the worst event of his life. Still, he stayed on the Berkeley history faculty for three more years before he, Kay, and their three children left for Princeton in mid-1964.

[Steve Fuller](, in [a footnote to his _Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History of Our Times_ (2000)](, who differentiates between (i) historians, and (ii) metahistorians (or philosophers of history). There may be a failure by Kuhn to acknowledge his sources as a "cognitive responsibility".

> So far my account has attributed Kuhn’s significance largely to things that other people thought and did. As we have just seen, this extends beyond the reception of Structure to its actual composition. This pronounced state of uninvolvement suggests that he did indeed suffer from a state of diminished cultural responsibility that makes the sense of “being there”. [....] The disorder takes a more specific form in terms of the relationship between historians and philosophers of history, or “metahistorians” in Hayden White’s terms. > White uses the expression “cognitive responsibility” to distinguish the two groups of inquirers. [37] > * [37] White 1973, 14 n. 7, 23 n. 12. White’s source for “cognitive responsibility” is Stephen Pepper, _World Hypotheses_ (1948). Pepper, who trained at Harvard under the critical realist Ralph Barton Perry, was chair of the Berkeley philosophy department when Kuhn arrived as a junior faculty member in 1957. Indeed, Kuhn credits him with having wanted a historian of science to be hired within the philosophy department. See Kuhn et al. 1997, 174. Pepper distinguished between those who defended their knowledge claims in ways that were compatible with their own presuppositions and those who did not. The latter were deemed cognitively irresponsible. In this way, all the bugaboos of rationalism - animists, mystics, and skeptics - could be dismissed in one fell swoop as soon as they engaged in reasoned argument. Although many suggestive comparisons have been made between Kuhnian paradigms and Pepperian world hypotheses, at most Pepper emboldened Kuhn to continue along a path he had already discerned. Indeed, given Pepper’s intent, Kuhn would have to be seen as having ironically appropriated Pepper. After all, Kuhn licensed concerns about cognitive responsibility only after a world hypothesis was threatened with anomalies.