Specialisation and the Incommensurability Among Scientific Specialties

Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (1):129-144 (2019)
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Abstract

In his mature writings, Kuhn describes the process of specialisation as driven by a form of incommensurability, defined as a conceptual/linguistic barrier which promotes and guarantees the insularity of specialties. In this paper, we reject the idea that the incommensurability among scientific specialties is a linguistic barrier. We argue that the problem with Kuhn’s characterisation of the incommensurability among specialties is that he presupposes a rather abstract theory of semantic incommensurability, which he then tries to apply to his description of the process of specialisation. By contrast, this paper follows a different strategy: after criticising Kuhn’s view, it takes a further look at how new scientific specialties emerge. As a result, a different way of understanding incommensurability among specialties will be proposed.

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Vincenzo Politi
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Citations of this work

Beyond Structure: New Frontiers of the Philosophy of Thomas Kuhn.Vincenzo Politi & Yafeng Shan - 2023 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 36 (2):81-86.
Specialisation, Interdisciplinarity, and Incommensurability.Vincenzo Politi - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (3):301-317.
Thematic Reclassifications and Emerging Sciences.Raphaël Sandoz - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (1):63-85.

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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.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Otto Neurath.
Time and chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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