Kuhn's account of family resemblance: A solution to the problem of wide-open texture

Erkenntnis 52 (3):313-337 (2000)
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It is a commonly raised argument against the family resemblance account of concepts that there is no limit to a concept's extension. An account of family resemblance which attempts to provide a solution to this problem by including both similarity among instances and dissimilarity to non-instances has been developed by the philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn. Similar solutions have been hinted at in the literature on family resemblance concepts, but the solution has never received a detailed investigation. I shall provide a reconstruction of Kuhn's theory and argue that his solution necessitates a developmental perspective wchich builds on both the transmission of taxonomies between generations and a progressive development through history.



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Hanne Andersen
University of Copenhagen

Citations of this work

Taxonomies, Networks, and Lexicons: A Study of Kuhn’s Post-‘Linguistic Turn’ Philosophy.Vincenzo Politi - 2020 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 33 (2):87-103.
The Prototype Resemblance Theory of Disease.K. Sadegh-Zadeh - 2008 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 33 (2):106-139.
Modelling the History of Ideas.Arianna Betti & Hein van den Berg - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (4):812-835.

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References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1996 - New York: Routledge.
Features of similarity.Amos Tversky - 1977 - Psychological Review 84 (4):327-352.

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