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Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" Revisited

Vasso P. Kindi
Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie
Vol. 26, No. 1 (1995), pp. 75-92
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25171014
Page Count: 18
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Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" Revisited
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Abstract

The present paper argues that there is an affinity between Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and Wittgenstein's philosophy. It is maintained, in particular, that Kuhn's notion of paradigm draws on such Wittgensteinian concepts as language games, family resemblance, rules, forms of life. It is also claimed that Kuhn's incommensurability thesis is a sequel of the theory of meaning supplied by Wittgenstein's later philosophy. As such its assessment is not fallacious, since it is not an empirical hypothesis and it does not have the relativistic implications Kuhn's critics repeatedly indicated. Although concepts are indeed relative to a language game or paradigm, interparadigmatic intelligibility is preserved through the standard techniques of translation or praxis. The impossibility of radical translation which is captured by the claim of incommensurability lies with that which cannot be said but only shown.

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