Theoria 12 (3):425-445 (1997)

Authors
Howard Sankey
University of Melbourne
Abstract
The incommensurability thesis is the thesis that the content of some alternative scientific theories is incomparable due to translation failure between the vocabulary the theories employ. This paper presents an overview of the main issues which have arisen in the debate about incommensurability. It also briefly outlines a response to the thesis based on a modified causal theory of reference which allows change of reference subsequent to initial baptism, as well as a role to description in the determination of reference. On such a view. the content of theories may be compared on the basis of shared reference, despite failure of translation. Two recent developments involving the incomnensurability thesis are also examined: (i) the taxonomic version of the incomensurability thesis found in Kuhn’s later writings. (ii) Hoyningen-Huenc’s neo-Kantian interpretation of Kuhn’s metaphysics
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Philosophy of Science
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ISBN(s) 0495-4548  
DOI theoria19971232
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References found in this work BETA

On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme.Donald Davidson - 2011 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press. pp. 286-298.
What Are Scientific Revolutions?Thomas S. Kuhn - 1981 - Center for Cognitive Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Citations of this work BETA

Kuhn, Nominalism, and Empiricism.Alexander Bird - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (4):690-719.
Kuhn on Incommensurability and Theory Choice.Alex Davies - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (4):571-579.

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Kuhn's Changing Concept of Incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (4):759-774.
Incommensurability.Harold I. Brown - 1983 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):3 – 29.
Taxonomic Incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 1998 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (1):7 – 16.
Kuhn on Reference and Essence.Alexander Bird - 2004 - Philosophia Scientiae 8 (1):39-71.
Multisemiosis and Incommensurability.S. K. Arun Murthi & Sundar Sarukkai - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):297-311.

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