Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis: What’s the Argument?

Social Epistemology 29 (4):361-378 (2015)
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Abstract

In this paper, I argue that there is neither valid deductive support nor strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis. There is no valid deductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis because, from the fact that the reference of the same kind terms changes or discontinues from one theoretical framework to another, it does not necessarily follow that these two theoretical frameworks are taxonomically incommensurable. There is no strong inductive support for Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis, since there are rebutting defeaters against it in the form of episodes from the history of science that do not exhibit discontinuity and replacement, as Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis predicts, but rather continuity and supplementation. If this is correct, then there are no compelling epistemic reasons to believe that Kuhn’s incommensurability thesis is true or probable

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Moti Mizrahi
Florida Institute of Technology

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