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Thomas Kuhn

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018)

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  1. Response‐Dependence, Noumenalism, and Ontological Mystery.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2009 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (4):469-488.
    Philip Pettit has argued that all semantically basic terms are learned in response to ostended examples and all non-basic terms are defined via them. Michael Smith and Daniel Stoljar maintain that this “global response-dependence” entails noumenalism, the thesis that reality possesses an unknowable, intrinsic nature. Surprisingly Pettit acknowledges this, contending instead that his noumenalism, like Kant’s, can be construed ontologically or epistemically. Moreover, Pettit insists, construing his noumenalism epistemically renders it unproblematic. The article shows that construing noumenalism epistemically prevents Pettit (...)
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  • Untranslatability of Theories with Different Vocabularies.Mahdi Hatef - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations 12 (25):285-305.
    The controversial idea of incommensurability in Kuhn’s works was gradually replaced by the translatability thesis, for which two distinct arguments could be formulated. The first is extracted from his theoretical contextual approach to meaning, and the second form his taxonomic conception of natural kind terms. According to each one, it could be given an untranslatability condition, in terms of which we can talk about untranslatability of theories with different vocabularies. I will formulate these untranslatability conditions in this essay, confessing that (...)
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  • Microessentialism: What is the Argument?Paul Needham - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):1-21.
    According to microessentialism, it is necessary to resort to microstructure in order to adequately characterise chemical substances such as water. But the thesis has never been properly supported by argument. Kripke and Putnam, who originally proposed the thesis, suggest that a so-called stereotypical characterisation is not possible, whereas one in terms of microstructure is. However, the sketchy outlines given of stereotypical descriptions hardly support the impossibility claim. On the other hand, what naturally stands in contrast to microscopic description is description (...)
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  • Assessing the Influence of Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.K. Brad Wray - 2012 - Metascience 21 (1):1-10.
  • Interpreting Thomas Kuhn as a Response-Dependence Theorist.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2011 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (5):729 - 752.
    Abstract Thomas Kuhn is the most famous historian and philosopher of science of the last century. He is also among the most controversial. Since Kuhn's death, his corpus has been interpreted, systematized, and defended. Here I add to this endeavor in a novel way by arguing that Kuhn can be interpreted as a global response-dependence theorist. He can be understood as connecting all concepts and terms in an a priori manner to responses of suitably situated subjects to objects in the (...)
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  • Thomas Kuhn on the Existence of the World.Michel Ghins - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (3):265 – 279.
    This article argues that Thomas Kuhn's views on the existence of the world have undergone significant change in the course of his philosophical career. In Structure, Kuhn appears to be committed to the existence of the ordinary empirical world as well as the existence of an independent metaphysical world, but realism about the empirical world is abandoned in his later writings. Whereas in Structure the only relative worlds are the scientific worlds inhabited by the practitioners of various paradigms, the later (...)
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  • Did Tom Kuhn Actually Meet Tom Bayes?Lefteris Farmakis - 2008 - Erkenntnis 68 (1):41 - 53.
    Wesley Salmon and John Earman have presented influential Bayesian reconstructions of Thomas Kuhn’s account of theory-change. In this paper I argue that all attempts to give a Bayesian reading of Kuhn’s philosophy of science are fundamentally misguided due to the fact that Bayesian confirmation theory is in fact inconsistent with Kuhn’s account. The reasons for this inconsistency are traced to the role the concept of incommensurability plays with reference to the ‘observational vocabulary’ within Kuhn’s picture of scientific theories. The upshot (...)
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  • On the Role of Simplicity in Science.Luigi Scorzato - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2867-2895.
    Simple assumptions represent a decisive reason to prefer one theory to another in everyday scientific praxis. But this praxis has little philosophical justification, since there exist many notions of simplicity, and those that can be defined precisely strongly depend on the language in which the theory is formulated. The language dependence is a natural feature—to some extent—but it is also believed to be a fatal problem, because, according to a common general argument, the simplicity of a theory is always trivial (...)
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  • The Future of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.K. Brad Wray - 2013 - Topoi 32 (1):75-79.
    I examine the value and limitations of Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In the interests of developing a social epistemology of science, I argue that we should draw on Kuhn’s later work, published in The Road since Structure. There, Kuhn draws attention to the important role that specialty formation plays in resolving crises in science, a topic he did not discuss in Structure. I argue that we need to develop a better understanding of specialty research communities. Kuhn’s later work provides (...)
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  • Alasdair MacIntyre's Analysis of Tradition.Tom Angier - 2014 - European Journal of Philosophy 22 (4):540-572.
    I argue that, in analysing the structure and development of moral traditions, MacIntyre relies primarily on Kuhn's model of scientific tradition, rather than on Lakatos' model. I unpack three foci of Kuhn's conception of the sciences, namely: the ‘crisis’ conception of scientific development, what I call the ‘systematic conception’ of scientific paradigms, and the view that successive paradigms are incommensurable. I then show that these three foci are integrated into MacIntyre's account of the development of moral traditions with a surprising (...)
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