Incommensurability then and now

Summary The incommensurability of scientific theories is not the only famous incommensurability issue in the history of western philosophy. The commensurability of all magnitudes (things) by means of ratios of integers (arithmetical ratios) wasthe thesis of Pythagoreanism. The diagonal and side of a square, however, are not commensurable, thus the Pythagorean thesis is refuted. Most philosophers ancient and contemporary would agree that Pythagoreanism was refuted by the counter-example and the concommitant argument or proof. The incommensurabilists were victorious. The present paper examines the prospects of the contemporary thesis of the incommensurability of scientific theories in the light of the history of the Pythagorean thesis. What factors were responsible for the rather clear-cut victory of theincommensurability side? How were they able to carry through a refutation? How likely is it that the contemporary dispute over the commensurability of scientific theories will be resolved in such a sharp manner? The paper concludes that it is not at all likely
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/BF01800755
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,879
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Igor Douven & Henk W. De Regt (2002). A Davidsonian Argument Against Incommensurability. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (2):157 – 169.
A. Polikarov (1993). Is There an Incommensurability Between Superseding Theories? On the Validity of the Incommensurability Thesis. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 24 (1):127 - 146.
John Collier (1984). Pragmatic Incommensurability. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:146 - 153.
S. K. Arun Murthi & Sundar Sarukkai (2009). Multisemiosis and Incommensurability. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):297-311.
Howard Sankey (1998). Taxonomic Incommensurability. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (1):7 – 16.
Howard Sankey (2009). Scientific Realism and the Semantic Incommensurability Thesis. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):196-202.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

18 ( #150,602 of 1,725,168 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #167,174 of 1,725,168 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.