The 'platforms' for comparing incommensurable taxonomies: A cognitive-historical analysis [Book Review]

Abstract
This paper examines taxonomy comparison from a cognitive perspective. Arguments are developed by drawing on the results of cognitive psychology, which reveal the cognitive mechanisms behind the practice of taxonomy comparison. The taxonomic change in 19th-century ornithology is also used to uncover the historical practice that ornithologists employed in the revision of the classification of birds. On the basis of cognitive and historical analyses, I argue that incommensurable taxonomies can be compared rationally. Using a frame model to represent taxonomy, I show how rational comparisons were achieved in the historical case through compatible contrast sets and attribute lists. Through analyzing the cognitive processes of classification and concept representation, I further explain how rival taxonomies in the historical case could be rationally compared on ‘platforms’ rooted in such cognitive mechanisms as relational assumptions and preferences for body parts in conceptual processing.
Keywords Kuhn  incommensurability  taxonomy  theory choice
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    Dragoş Bîgu (2013). A Similarity-Based Approach of Kuhn's No-Overlap Principle and Anomalies. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):330-338.
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