The philosopher Karl Popper is fast becoming the best-known loser in modern intellectual history. Three years ago, in the book Wittgenstein's Poker, which recounts a famous battle between Popper and his contemporary, Ludwig Wittgenstein, authors David Edmonds and John Eidinow clearly gave the latter the upper hand. Now, in Kuhn vs. Popper: The Struggle for the Soul of Science (Columbia University Press, $24), Steve Fuller recounts Popper's debate with the Harvard physicist turned historian
of science Thomas Kuhn. Although Fuller bills the showdown, which took place on July 13, 1965, at the University of London, as the intellectual equivalent of Ali-Frazier, he also admits that it was something of a nonevent. Kuhn didn't like to debate, and Popper, an established thinker two decades his senior, didn't want to share the stage with an upstart. There may have been no clear winner that day, but Kuhn's ideas enjoyed more popularity in the long run. His book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions has since sold more than a million copies and been translated into 20 languages.