David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Inquiry 26 (1):3 – 29 (1983)
The thesis that certain competing scientific theories are incommensurable was introduced by Kuhn and Feyerabend in 1962 and has been a subject of widespread critique. Critics have generally taken incommensurable theories to be theories which cannot be compared in a rational manner, but both Kuhn and Feyerabend have explicitly rejected this interpretation, and Feyerabend has discussed ways in which such comparisons can be made in a number of his writings. This paper attempts to clarify the incommensurability thesis through the examination of a number of examples, both scientific and nonscientific, of cases in which incommensurable points of view compete. There follows a discussion of Kuhn's analogy between paradigm change and gestalt shifts, the ways in which incommensurable theories can be compared, and one key reason why the incommensurability thesis has been so often misinterpreted by its critics
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References found in this work BETA
Harold I. Brown (1983). Response to Siegel. Synthese 56 (1):91 - 105.
Robert Garland Colodny (1966). Mind and Cosmos. [Pittsburgh]University of Pittsburgh Press.
Thomas S. Kuhn (1996/2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
Thomas S. Kuhn (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Vol. The University of Chicago Press.
Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.) (1970). Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Xinli Wang (2002). Taxonomy, Truth-Value Gaps and Incommensurability: A Reconstruction of Kuhn's Taxonomic Interpretation of Incommensurability. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (3):465-485.
K. Brad Wray (2012). Assessing the Influence of Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Metascience 21 (1):1-10.
S. Jacobs (2002). Polanyi's Presagement of the Incommensurability Concept. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1):101-116.
Fred D'Agostino (2013). Verballed? Incommensurability 50 Years On. Synthese 191 (3):1-22.
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