Taxonomies, Networks, and Lexicons: A Study of Kuhn’s Post-‘Linguistic Turn’ Philosophy

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 33 (2):87-103 (2021)
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In his mature works, Kuhn abandons the concept of a paradigm and becomes more interested in the analysis of the conceptual structure of scientific theories. These changes are interpreted as resulting from a ‘linguistic turn’ that Kuhn underwent sometimes around the 1980s. Much of the philosophical discussions about Kuhn’s post-‘linguistic turn’ philosophy revolves around his views on taxonomic concepts. Apart from taxonomy, however, the mature Kuhn introduces other concepts, such as conceptual networks and lexicons. This article distinguishes these three concepts and shows that adopting each one of them has different impacts on Kuhn’s model of science. After distinguishing and assessing the concepts of taxonomy, network, and lexicon, it will be argued that the latter not only fits the Kuhnian model of science better, but it also helps capture the wide sense of Kuhn’s early concept of a paradigm.



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Vincenzo Politi
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

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Thomas Kuhn.Alexander Bird - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Kuhn's Evolutionary Social Epistemology.K. Brad Wray - 2011 - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Commensurability, Comparability, Communicability.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:669 - 688.

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