Philosophia Scientiae 8 (1):73-94 (2004)

Authors
Martin Carrier
Bielefeld University
Abstract
Semantic incommensurability is understood as non-translatability of concepts taken from different theories. My aim is to give a rational reconstruction of the notion of incommensurability underlying the writings of Feyerabend and the later Kuhn. I claim that incommensurability can be reconstructed on this basis as a coherent conception and that relevant instances can be identified. The translation failure between incommensurable concepts arises from the impossibility to jointly fulfil two conditions of adequacy that the context theory of meaning places on translations. Potential conceptual analogues either fail to preserve the conditions of application or to reproduce the relevant inferential relations. Incommensurability is thus construed as the result of a particular type of conceptual relations which is produced by the incompatibility of the pertinent theories. These conceptual relations are sufficiently tight to make an empirical comparison of the relevant theoretical assertions possible. I try to make these claims plausible by elaborating examples from classical electrodynamics and special relativity.RésuméL’incommensurabilité sémantique est comprise comme la non-traduisibilité de concepts appartenant à différentes théories. L’objectif de l’article est de proposer une reconstruction rationnelle de la notion d’incommensurabilité qui sous-tend les écrits de Feyerabend et du dernier Kuhn. L’incommensurabilité, prétend-on, peut être reconstruite sur cette base en tant que notion cohérente, et des exemples pertinents peuvent en être donnés. L’impossibilité de la traduction entre concepts incommensurables provient de l’impossibilité de satisfaire conjointement deux conditions d’adéquation que la théorie contextuelle de la signification impose aux traductions. Les analogues conceptuels potentiels s’avèrent, soit ne pas préserver les conditions d’application, soit ne pas reproduire les relations inférentielles pertinentes. L’incommensurabilité est ainsi construite comme le résultat d’un type particulier de relations conceptuelles produit par l’incompatibilité des théories correspondantes. Ces relations conceptuelles sont suffisamment étroites pour rendre possible une comparaison empirique des assertions théoriques pertinentes. L’article s’efforce de rendre ces thèses plausibles en développant des exemples tirés de l’électrodynamique classique et de la relativité spéciale.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.4000/philosophiascientiae.590
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,363
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

On the Role of Simplicity in Science.Luigi Scorzato - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2867-2895.
On the Role of Simplicity in Science.Scorzato Luigi - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2867-2895.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Another Look at Empirical Equivalence and Underdetermination of Theory Choice.Pablo Acuña & Dennis Dieks - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):153-180.
A Note on Relativity Before Einstein.M. N. Macrossan - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 37 (2):232-234.
Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Rational World-Choice.Myron Arthur Penner - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 75 (1):13-25.
Comparability and Incommensurability.Joseph Agassi - 2003 - Social Epistemology 17 (2 & 3):93 – 94.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-01-18

Total views
66 ( #160,595 of 2,445,399 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #457,259 of 2,445,399 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes