Results for 'Incommensurability'

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  1. Incommensurability as vagueness: a burden-shifting argument.Luke Elson - 2017 - Theoria 83 (4):341-363.
    Two options are ‘incommensurate’ when neither is better than the other, but they are not equally good. Typically, we will say that one option is better in some ways, and the other in others, but neither is better ‘all things considered’. It is tempting to think that incommensurability is vagueness—that it is (perhaps) indeterminate which is better—but this ‘vagueness view’ of incommensurability has not proven popular. I set out the vagueness view and its implications in more detail, and (...)
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  2. The Incommensurability Thesis.Howard Sankey - 1994 - Abingdon: Taylor and Francis.
    This book presents a critical analysis of the semantic incommensurability thesis of Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend. In putting forward the thesis of incommensurability, Kuhn and Feyerabend drew attention to complex issues concerning the phenomenon of conceptual change in science. They raised serious problems about the semantic and logical relations between the content of theories which deploy unlike systems of concepts. Yet few of the more extreme claims associated with incommensurability stand scrutiny. The argument of this book (...)
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  3. Incommensurability (and incomparability).Ruth Chang - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell. pp. 2591-2604.
    This encyclopedia entry urges what it takes to be correctives to common (mis)understandings concerning the phenomenon of incommensurability and incomparability and briefly outlines some of their philosophical upshots.
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  4.  33
    The Incommensurability of Styles of Reasoning: The Case of the Existence of Theoretical Entities.Luca Sciortino - 2023 - In History of Rationalities: Ways of Thinking from Vico to Hacking and Beyond. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 271-302.
    In this chapter I shall address the question as to whether there exists a universal and atemporal justification for the claims made by a community that adopts a particular style of reasoning. I shall present a case study in which a claim made in the laboratory style of reasoning has no universal and atemporal justification. As I shall explain, Hacking justifies his belief that unobservable entities exist on the ground that they can be regularly manipulated by experimenters in order to (...)
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  5. Incommensurability in Population Ethics.Jacob Nebel - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    Values are incommensurable when they cannot be measured on a single cardinal scale. Many philosophers suggest that incommensurability can help us solve the problems of population ethics. I agree. But some philosophers claim that populations bear incommensurable values merely because they contain different numbers of people, perhaps within some range. I argue that mere differences in how many people exist, even within some range, do not suffice for incommensurability. I argue that the intuitive neutrality of creating happy people (...)
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  6. Incommensurability and Theory Change.Howard Sankey - 2011 - In Steven D. Hales (ed.), A Companion to Relativism. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 456-474.
    The paper explores the relativistic implications of the thesis of incommensurability. A semantic form of incommensurability due to semantic variation between theories is distinguished from a methodological form due to variation in methodological standards between theories. Two responses to the thesis of semantic incommensurability are dealt with: the first challenges the idea of untranslatability to which semantic incommensurability gives rise; the second holds that relations of referential continuity eliminate semantic incommensurability. It is then argued that (...)
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  7. Meta-Incommensurability between Theories of Meaning: Chemical Evidence.Nicholas W. Best - 2015 - Perspectives on Science 23 (3):361-378.
    Attempting to compare scientific theories requires a philosophical model of meaning. Yet different scientific theories have at times—particularly in early chemistry—pre-supposed disparate theories of meaning. When two theories of meaning are incommensurable, we must say that the scientific theories that rely upon them are meta-incommensurable. Meta- incommensurability is a more profound sceptical threat to science since, unlike first-order incommensurability, it implies complete incomparability.
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  8. Methodological Incommensurability and Epistemic Relativism.Howard Sankey - 2013 - Topoi 32 (1):33-41.
    This paper revisits one of the key ideas developed in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In particular, it explores the methodological form of incommensurability which may be found in the original edition of Structure. It is argued that such methodological incommensurability leads to a form of epistemic relativism. In later work, Kuhn moved away from the original idea of methodological incommensurability with his idea of a set of epistemic values that provides a basis for rational theory choice, (...)
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  9. Incommensurability and the Bonfire of the Meta-Theories: Response to Mizrahi.Lydia Patton - 2015 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (7):51-58.
    Scientists working within a paradigm must play by the rules of the game of that paradigm in solving problems, and that is why incommensurability arises when the rules of the game change. If we deny the thesis of the priority of paradigms, then there is no good argument for the incommensurability of theories and thus for taxonomic incommensurability, because there is no invariant way to determine the set of results provable, puzzles solvable, and propositions cogently formulable under (...)
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  10. Incommensurability: The current state of play.Howard Sankey - 1997 - Theoria 12 (3):425-445.
    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 (...)
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  11. Incommensurability, translation and understanding.Howard Sankey - 1991 - Philosophical Quarterly 41 (165):414-426.
    This paper addresses the issue of how it is possible to understand the language of an incommensurable theory. The aim is to defend the idea of translation failure against the objection that it incoherently precludes understanding.
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  12. Incommensurable values.John Broome - 2000 - In Roger Crisp & Brad Hooker (eds.), Well-Being and Morality: Essays in Honour of James Griffin. Clarendon Press. pp. 21--38.
    Two options are incommensurate in value if neither is better than the other, and if a small improvement or worsening of one does not necessarily make it determinately better or worse than the other. If a person faces a sequence of choices between incommensurate options, she may end up with a worse options than she could have had, even though none of her choices are irrational. Yet it seems that rationality should save her from this bad outcome. This is the (...)
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  13. Incommensurability and Cross-Language Communication.Xinli Wang - 2007 - Ashgate Publishing Ltd, England.
    Against the received translation-failure interpretation, this book presents a presuppositional interpretation of incommensurability, that is, the thesis of incommensurability as cross-language communication breakdown due to the incompatible metaphysical presuppositions underlying two competing presuppositional languages, such as scientific languages. This semantically sound, epistemologically well-established, and metaphysically profound interpretation not only affirms the tenability of the notion of incommensurability and confirms the reality of the phenomenon of incommensurability, but also makes some significant contributions to the discussion of many (...)
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  14. Incommensurability and Comparative Philosophy.Xinli Wang - 2018 - Philosophy East and West 68 (2):564-582.
    Comparative philosophy between two disparate cultural-philosophic traditions, such as Western and Chinese philosophy, has become a new trend of philosophical fashion in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Having learned from the past, contemporary comparative philosophers cautiously safeguard their comparative studies against two potential pitfalls, namely cultural universalism and cultural relativism. The Orientalism that assumed the superiority of the Occidental has become a memory of the past. The historical pendulum has apparently swung to the other extreme. The more recent (...)
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  15. Taxonomic incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 1998 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (1):7 – 16.
    In a shift of position that has gone largely unnoticed by the great majority of commentators, Thomas Kuhn's version of the incommensurability thesis underwent a major transformation over the last decade and a half of his life. In his later work, Kuhn argued that incommensurability is a relation of translation failure between local subsets of interdefined theoretical terms, which encapsulate the taxonomic structure of a theory. Incommensurability arises because it is impossible to transfer the natural categories employed (...)
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  16. Incommensurability, incomparability, and practical reason.Ruth Chang (ed.) - 1997 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard.
    Can quite different values be rationally weighed against one another? Can the value of one thing always be ranked as greater than, equal to, or less than the value of something else? If the answer to these questions is no, then in what areas do we find commensurability and comparability unavailable? And what are the implications for moral and legal decision making? This book struggles with these questions, and arrives at distinctly different answers.".
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  17. Is Incommensurability Vagueness?John Broome - 1997 - In Ruth Chang (ed.), Incommensurability, incomparability, and practical reason. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard.
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  18. Incommensurability.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 1999 - In W. H. Newton-Smith (ed.), A Companion to Philosophy of Science. Blackwell. pp. 172-80.
    Along with “paradigm” and “scientific revolution,” “incommensurability” is one of the three most influential expressions associated with the “new philosophy of science” first articulated in the early 1960s by Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend. But, despite the fact that it has been widely discussed, opinions still differ widely as to the content and significance of the claim of incommensurability.
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  19. Incommensurability: An Overview.Howard Sankey - 1999 - Divinatio 10:135-48.
    Opening remarks delivered at "Incommensurability (and related matters)" conference, Hanover, June 1999.
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  20. Some Reflections on Experimental Incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 2008 - In Lena Soler, Howard Sankey & Paul Hoyningen-Huene (eds.), Rethinking Scientific Change and Theory Comparison: Stabilities, Ruptures, Incommensurabilities? Springer. pp. 341-347.
    This is a comment on Lena Soler's 'The Incommensurability of Experimental Practices'.
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  21. Incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 2006 - In Sahotra Sarkar & Jessica Pfeifer (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 370-373.
    This is a short introductory discussion of the idea of incommensurability as it is used in the philosophy of science.
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  22. Incommensurability and the Best of All Possible Worlds.Stephen Grover - 1998 - The Monist 81 (4):648-668.
    In “The Best of All Possible Worlds” William E. Mann argues that some possible worlds are morally incommensurable with some others, because some choices are between incompatible alternatives that are themselves incommensurable. The best possible world must be better than, and hence commensurable with, every other world. So if anyone in the actual world ever faces a choice between incompatible alternatives that are morally incommensurable, this is not the best possible world. But it seems that some of us do, on (...)
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  23. Value Incomparability and Incommensurability.Ruth Chang - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory. Oxford University Press.
    This introductory article describes the phenomena of incommensurability and incomparability, how they are related, and why they are important. Since incomparability is the more significant phenomenon, the paper takes that as its focus. It gives a detailed account of what incomparability is, investigates the relation between the incomparability of values and the incomparability of alternatives for choice, distinguishes incomparability from the related phenomena of parity, indeterminacy, and noncomparability, and, finally, defends a view about practical justification that vindicates the importance (...)
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  24. Deontology, Incommensurability and the Arbitrary.Anthony Ellis - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):855-875.
    The article tries to show that what is often called 'Moderate Deontology' is incoherent.
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  25. Incommensurability and the indeterminacy of translation.Howard Sankey - 1991 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (2):219 - 223.
    In this paper it is argued that the concept of translation failure involved in Kuhn's thesis of incommensurability is distinct from that of translational indeterminacy in Quine's sense. At most, Kuhnian incommensurability constitutes a weak form of indeterminacy, quite distinct from Quine's. There remains, however, a convergence between the two views of translation, namely, that there is no single adequate translation between languages.
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  26. Against Constitutive Incommensurability or Buying and Selling Friends.Ruth Chang - 2001 - Noûs 35 (s1):33 - 60.
    Recently, some of the leading proponents of the view that there is widespread incommensurability among goods have suggested that the incommensurability of some goods is a constitutive feature of the goods themselves. So, for example, a friendship and a million dollars are incommensurable because it is part of what it is to be a friendship that it be incommensurable with money. According to these ‘constitutive incommensurabilists’ incommensurability follows from the very nature of certain goods. In this paper, (...)
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  27. Specialisation, Interdisciplinarity, and Incommensurability.Vincenzo Politi - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (3):301-317.
    Incommensurability may be regarded as driving specialisation, on the one hand, and as posing some problems to interdisciplinarity, on the other hand. It may be argued, however, that incommensurability plays no role in either specialisation or interdisciplinarity. Scientific specialties could be defined as simply 'different' (that is, about different things), rather than 'incommensurable' (that is, competing for the explanation of the same phenomena). Interdisciplinarity could be viewed as the co- ordinated effort of scientists possessing complemetary and interlocking skills, (...)
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  28. Incommensurability Tenet and Modern Theory of Gravity.Rinat M. Nugayev - 1989 - In Lev Bazhenov Azaria Polikarov (ed.), Cosmos,Physics,Philosophy. Russian Academy of Science. pp. 37-39.
    An apparent incommensurability of two leading gravitational paradigms (metric and nonmetric) is considered. It is conjectured that the application of neutral language of A.P. Lightman, D.L. Lee and Kip S. Thorne (“The Foundation of Theory of Gravitational Theories”. Phys. Rev. D 1973, vol.7, pp.3563-3572) can help to solve the theory –choice problem in principle. Key words: neutral language, theory choice, gravity.
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  29. Rationality, Relativism and Incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 1997 - Ashgate.
    This book concentrates on three topics: the problem of the semantic incommensurability of theories; the non-algorithmic character of rational scientific theory choice and naturalised accounts of the rationality of methodological change. The underlying aim is to show how the phenomenon of extensive conceptual and methodological variation in science need not give rise to a thorough-going epistemic or conceptual relativism.
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  30. Incommensurability and moral value.Mark R. Reiff - 2014 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (3):237-268.
    Some theorists believe that there is a plurality of values, and that in many circumstances these values are incommensurable, or at least incomparable. Others believe that all values are reducible to a single super-value, or that even if there is a plurality of irreducible values these values are commensurable. But I will argue that both sides have got it wrong. Values are neither commensurable nor incommensurable, at least not in the way most people think. We are free to believe in (...)
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  31. Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis: What’s the Argument?Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Social Epistemology 29 (4):361-378.
    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 (...)
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  32. Incommensurability in cognitive guise.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 1998 - Philosophical Psychology 11 (1):29 – 43.
    Philosophers and historians of science have made the claim that successive scientific theories are incommensurable, that is, that many or all of their concepts fail to coincide. This claim has been echoed by cognitive psychologists who have applied it to the successive conceptual schemes of young children, or of children and adults. This paper examines the psychological evidence for the claim and proposes ways of reinterpreting it which do not involve imputing incommensurability. An alternative approach to understanding conceptual change (...)
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  33. Can Kuhn’s Taxonomic Incommensurability Be an Image of Science?Seungbae Park - 2018 - In The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation? London: pp. 61–74.
    I criticize Kuhn’s (1962/1970) taxonomic incommensurability thesis as follows. (i) His argument for it is neither deductively sound nor inductively correct. (ii) It clashes with his account of scientific development that employs evolutionary theory. (iii) Even if two successive paradigms are taxonomically incommensurable, they have some overlapping theoretical claims, as selectivists point out. (iv) Since scientific revolutions were rare in the recent past, as historical optimists observe, they will also be rare in the future. Where scientific revolution is rare, (...)
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  34. Incommensurable Goods, Alternative Possibilities, and the Self-Refutation of the Self-Refutation of Determinism.Michael Baur - 2005 - American Journal of Jurisprudence 50 (1):165-171.
    In his paper, "Free Choice, Incommensurable Goods and the Self-Refutation of Determinism,"' Joseph Boyle seeks to show how the argument for the self-refutation of determinism - first articulated over twenty-five years ago - is an argument whose force depends on (first) a proper understanding of just what free choice is, and (secondly) a proper understanding of how free choice is a principle of moral responsibility. According to Boyle, a person can make a genuinely free choice only if he is presented (...)
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  35. Incommensurability and demarcation.John T. Sanders - 1998 - In Dane R. Gordon & Józef Niznik (eds.), Criticism and Defense of Rationality in Contemporary Philosophy. Rodopi. pp. 65--83.
    If the term "relativism" is understood as relativists take it, everyone is a relativist. If, on the other hand, one understands "relativism" as absolutists do, no one really could consistently be a relativist, despite what they might think. As I hope to show, however, much of this positioning of persons and philosophies is foolish. It misses much that is important in philosophical discussion and focuses attention in directions that lead to dead ends.
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  36. Problems of Incommensurability.Martijn Boot - 2017 - Social Theory and Practice 43 (2):313-342.
    This essay discusses implications of incommensurability of values for justified decision-making, ethics and justice. Under particular conditions incommensurability of values causes what might be called ‘incomplete comparability’ of options. Some leading theorists interpret this in terms of ‘imprecise equality’ and ‘imprecise comparability.’ This interpretation is mistaken and conceals the implications of incommensurability for practical and ethical reasoning. The aim of this essay is to show that, in many cases, incommensurability prevents the assignment of determinate weights to (...)
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  37. Pluralism and Incommensurability in Suicide Research.Hane Htut Maung - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 80:101247.
    This paper examines the complex research landscape of contemporary suicidology from a philosophy of science perspective. I begin by unpacking the methods, concepts, and assumptions of some of the prominent approaches to studying suicide causation, including psychological autopsy studies, epidemiological studies, biological studies, and qualitative studies. I then analyze the different ways these approaches partition the causes of suicide, with particular emphasis on the ways they conceptualize the domain of mental disorder. I argue that these different ways of partitioning the (...)
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  38.  73
    What does incommensurability tell us about agency?Luke Elson - 2021 - In Henrik Andersson & Anders Herlitz (eds.), Value Incommensurability: Ethics, Risk. And Decision-Making. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 181-198.
    Ruth Chang and Joseph Raz have both drawn far-reaching consequences for agency from the phenomenon of incommensurability. After criticizing their arguments, I outline an alternative view: if incommensurability is vagueness, then there are no substantial implications for agency, except perhaps a limited form of naturalistic voluntarism if our reasons are provided by desires.
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  39. Emotions and incommensurable moral concepts.Jeremy Randel Koons - 2001 - Philosophy 76 (4):585-604.
    Many authors have argued that emotions serve an epistemic role in our moral practice. Some argue that this epistemic connection is so strong that creatures who do not share our affective nature will be unable to grasp our moral concepts. I argue that even if this sort of incommensurability does result from the role of affect in morality, incommensurability does not in itself entail relativism. In any case, there is no reason to suppose that one must share our (...)
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  40. Compromise Between Incommensurable Ethical Values.Martijn Boot - 2020 - In Sandrine Baume & Stéphanie Novak (eds.), Compromises in Democracy. Palgrave MacMillan.
    In this chapter I will concentrate on compromise in ethical conflict and disagreement. I will discuss compromises related to disagreement with respect to public decisions between options that represent conflicting incommensurable human values. The central question will be whether in those cases a principled compromise is possible. A ‘principled compromise’ can be defined as a rational way to achieve a trade-off or balance between conflicting values, for instance, by rational assignment of relative weights. I will argue that in some cases (...)
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  41. The Demise of the Incommensurability Thesis.Howard Sankey - 2016 - In Moti Mizrahi (ed.), The Kuhnian Image of Science: Time for a Decisive Transformation? London and New York: Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 75-91.
    The paper briefly reviews the main formulations of the incommensurability thesis by Feyerabend and Kuhn, as well as the main criticisms leveled against it. The question is then raised of whether there is a "phenomenon" of incommensurability that has been "discovered". It is argued that there is no such phenomenon.
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  42. Why the Semantic Incommensurability Thesis is Self-Defeating.Michael A. Bishop - 1991 - Philosophical Studies 63 (3):343 - 356.
    What factors are involved in the resolution of scientific disputes? What factors make the resolution of such disputes rational? The traditional view confers an important role on observation statements that are shared by proponents of competing theories. Rival theories make incompatible (sometimes contradictory) observational predictions about a particular situation, and the prediction made by one theory is borne out while the prediction made by the other is not. Paul Feyerabend, Thomas Kuhn, and Paul Churchland have called into question this account (...)
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  43. Taxonomy, truth-value gaps and incommensurability: a reconstruction of Kuhn's taxonomic interpretation of incommensurability.Xinli Wang - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (3):465-485.
    Kuhn's alleged taxonomic interpretation of incommensurability is grounded on an ill defined notion of untranslatability and is hence radically incomplete. To supplement it, I reconstruct Kuhn's taxonomic interpretation on the basis of a logical-semantic theory of taxonomy, a semantic theory of truth-value, and a truth-value conditional theory of cross-language communication. According to the reconstruction, two scientific languages are incommensurable when core sentences of one language, which have truth values when considered within its own context, lack truth values when considered (...)
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  44. Scientific realism and the semantic incommensurability thesis.Howard Sankey - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):196-202.
    This paper reconsiders the challenge presented to scientific realism by the semantic incommensurability thesis. A twofold distinction is drawn between methodological and semantic incommensurability, and between semantic incommensurability due to variation of sense and due to discontinuity of reference. Only the latter presents a challenge to scientific realism. The realist may dispose of this challenge on the basis of a modified causal theory of reference, as argued in the author’s 1994 book, The incommensurability thesis. This referential (...)
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  45. A Critique of the Translational Approach to Incommensurability.Xinli Wang - 1998 - Prima Philosophia 11 (3):293-306.
    According to the received translational interpretation of incommensurability, incommensurability is viewed as untranslatability due to radical variance of meaning or reference of the terms in two competing scientific languages. The author argues that the translational approach to incommensurability does not effectively clarify the concept of incommensurability. Since it cannot provide us with tenable, integrated concept of incommensurability, it should be rejected.
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  46. Incommensurability, incomparability, and practical reason, Ruth Chang (ed.), Harvard university press, 1998, 303 pages. [REVIEW]Adam Morton - 2000 - Economics and Philosophy 16 (1):147-174.
    review of Ruth Chang's collection in which I argue that the apparent agreements between the authors disguise underlying important differences.
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  47. Coping with Incommensurable Pursuits: Rorty, Berlin, and the Confucian-Daoist Complementarity.Chenyang Li - 2010 - In Yong Huang (ed.), Rorty, Pragmatism, and Confucianism: With Responses by Richard Rorty. State University of New York Press. pp. 195-209.
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  48. What is Wrong with Nimbys? Renewable Energy, Landscape Impacts and Incommensurable Values.Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2017 - Environmental Values 26 (6):711-732.
    Local opposition to infrastructure projects implementing renewable energy (RE) such as wind farms is often strong even if state-wide support for RE is strikingly high. The slogan “Not In My BackYard” (NIMBY) has become synonymous for this kind of protest. This paper revisits the question of what is wrong with NIMBYs about RE projects and how to best address them. I will argue that local opponents to wind farm (and other RE) developments do not necessarily fail to contribute their fair (...)
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  49. A Reply to James Marcum’s “What’s the Support for Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis?”.Moti Mizrahi - 2015 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (11):21-24.
    I reply to James Marcum’s “What’s the Support for Kuhn’s Incommensurability Thesis? A Response to Mizrahi and Patton”.
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  50. Kuhn's changing concept of incommensurability.Howard Sankey - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (4):759-774.
    Since 1962 Kuhn's concept of incommensurability has undergone a process of transformation. His current account of incommensurability has little in common with his original account of it. Originally, incommensurability was a relation of methodological, observational and conceptual disparity between paradigms. Later Kuhn restricted the notion to the semantical sphere and assimilated it to the indeterminacy of translation. Recently he has developed an account of it as localized translation failure between subsets of terms employed by theories.
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