Incommensurability and dynamic conceptual structures
Philosophia Scientiae, Volume 8 (2004) no. 1, pp. 153-168.

One important problem concerning incommensurability is to explain how theories that are incommensurable can nevertheless compete. In this paper I shall briefly review Kuhn's account of the difference between revolutionary and non-revolutionary conceptual developments. I shall argue that his taxonomic approach and the no-overlap principle it entails does not suffice to distinguish between revolutionary and non-revolutionary developments. I shall show that his approach builds mainly on analyses of feature correlations, and that it is necessary to include explanations of these feature correlations as well. This puts emphasis on theories; an element which has played only a humble role in Kuhn's work on scientific lexicons from the 1980s and early 1990s. I shall argue that on the basis of this extended account of conceptual structures, incommensurability can be understood as overlapping feature correlations that are covered by different explanations.

Un problème important à propos de l'incommensurabilité est d'expliquer comment des théories qui sont incommensurables peuvent néanmoins entrer en compétition. Dans cet article, on examine brièvement le compte rendu kuhnien de la différence entre transitions conceptuelles révolutionnaires et non révolutionnaires. On argue que l'approche taxonomique kuhnienne et le principe de non-recouvrement qui le sous-tend ne suffisent pas à distinguer entre ces deux types de transition. On montre que cette approche s'appuie principalement sur des analyses de corrélations entre traits, alors qu'il est nécessaire de prendre de plus en considération les explications en vigueur de ces corrélations entre traits. Ceci met l'accent sur les théories, un élément qui n'a joué qu'un rôle modeste dans le travail que Kuhn a consacré aux lexiques scientifiques des années 1980 au début des années 1990. On argue que sur la base de ce compte rendu élargi des structures conceptuelles, l'incommensurabilité correspond à des corrélations qui d'un côté portent sur des traits présentant des recouvrements et de l'autre sont subsumées sous des explications différentes.

@article{PHSC_2004__8_1_153_0,
     author = {Andersen, Hanne},
     title = {Incommensurability and dynamic conceptual structures},
     journal = {Philosophia Scientiae},
     pages = {153--168},
     publisher = {\'Editions Kim\'e},
     volume = {8},
     number = {1},
     year = {2004},
     language = {en},
     url = {http://archive.numdam.org/item/PHSC_2004__8_1_153_0/}
}
TY  - JOUR
AU  - Andersen, Hanne
TI  - Incommensurability and dynamic conceptual structures
JO  - Philosophia Scientiae
PY  - 2004
DA  - 2004///
SP  - 153
EP  - 168
VL  - 8
IS  - 1
PB  - Éditions Kimé
UR  - http://archive.numdam.org/item/PHSC_2004__8_1_153_0/
LA  - en
ID  - PHSC_2004__8_1_153_0
ER  - 
%0 Journal Article
%A Andersen, Hanne
%T Incommensurability and dynamic conceptual structures
%J Philosophia Scientiae
%D 2004
%P 153-168
%V 8
%N 1
%I Éditions Kimé
%G en
%F PHSC_2004__8_1_153_0
Andersen, Hanne. Incommensurability and dynamic conceptual structures. Philosophia Scientiae, Volume 8 (2004) no. 1, pp. 153-168. http://archive.numdam.org/item/PHSC_2004__8_1_153_0/

[1] Ahn, W.-K. 1998.- Why are different features central for natural kinds and artifacts?: the role of causal status in determining feature centrality, Cognition, 69: 135-178.

[2] Andersen, H. 2000.- Kuhn's account of family resemblance: A solution to the problem of wide-open texture, Erkenntnis, 52: 313-337.

[3] Andersen, H. 2001.- Reference and Resemblance, Philosophy of Science, 68, (Proceedings): 50-61.

[4] Andersen, H. 2002.- The Development of Scientific Taxonomies

[5] Andersen, H. Forthcoming

[6] Andersen H., Barker P. and Chen X. 1996.- Kuhn's mature philosophy of science and cognitive psychology, in: Philosophical Psychology, 9: 347-363.

[7] Andersen H. and Nersessian N. 2000.- Nomic Concepts, Frame, and Conceptual Change, Philosophy of Science, 67 (Proceedings): 224-241.

[8] Barker, P. 2001.- Incommensurability and Conceptual Change During the Copernican Revolution, in [Hoyningen-Huene & Sankey 2001, 241-273.

[9] Barker P., Chen X. and Andersen H. 2003.- Kuhn on Concepts and Categorization

[10] Barsalou, L. 1992.- Cognitive Psychology: An Overview for Cognitive Scientists, Hillsdale, NJ.: Erlbaum.

[11] Boyd R. 1979.- Metaphor and theory change: What is ‘metaphor' a metaphor for

[12] Chapman M. and Dixon R.A. (editors) 1987.- Meaning and the Growth of Understanding. Wittgenstein's Significance for Developmental Psychology, Berlin: Springer 1987.

[13] Chen, X. 1997.- Thomas Kuhn's Latest Notion of Incommensurability, Journal for the General Philosophy of Science, forthcoming.

[14] Chen X., Andersen H. and Barker P. 1998.- Kuhn's Theory of Scientific Revolutions and Cognitive Psychology, Philosophical Psychology, 11: 5-28.

[15] Gunderson (editor) 1975.- Language, Mind and Knowledge, Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, volume VII, Mineapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

[16] Heider E.R. 1972.- Universals in color naming and memory, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 93: 10-20.

[17] Hoyningen-Huene, P. 1989.- Die Wissenschaftsphilosophie Thomas S. Kuhns: Rekonstruktion und Grundlagenprobleme. Braunschweig: Vieweg. English translation by A. T. Levine, 1993, Reconstructing Scientific Revolutions. Thomas S. Kuhn's Philosophy of Science, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. The pages mentioned in the paper are the ones of the English edition.

[18] Hoyningen-Huene P. and Sankey H. (editors) 2001.- Incommensurability and Related Matters, Boston: Kluwer.

[19] Horwitch P. (editor) 1993.- World Changes. Thomas S. Kuhn and the Nature of Science, Cambridge MA: MIT Press. | MR

[20] Keyes, M E. 1999a.- The Prion Challenge to the ‘Central Dogma' of Molecular Biology, 1965-1991. Part I: Prelude to Prions, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 30: 1-20.

[21] Keyes, M E. 1999b.- The Prion Challenge to the ‘Central Dogma' of Molecular Biology, 1965-1991. Part II: The Problem with Prions, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 30: 181-218.

[22] Kuhn, T.S. 1970a.- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press. | MR

[23] Kuhn, T.S. 1970b.- Reflections on my critics

[24] Kuhn, T.S. 1974 .- Second Thoughts on Paradigms

[25] Kuhn, T.S. 1977.- The Essential Tension, Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1977.

[26] Kuhn, T.S. 1979.- Metaphor in science

[27] Kuhn, T.S. 1983.- Commensurability, Comparability, Communicability, PSA 1982, 2, 669-688. Reprinted in [Kuhn 2000, 33-57]. | MR

[28] Kuhn, T.S. 1990.- An Historians Theory of Meaning, Unpublished talk to the Cognitive Science Colloquium, UCLA 4/26/90. (MC 240) Institute Archives and Special Collections, MIT Libraries, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

[29] Kuhn, T.S. 1991.- The Road since Structure, PSA 1990, 2: 3-13. Reprinted in [Kuhn 2000, 90-104].

[30] Kuhn, T.S. 1992.- The Trouble with the Historical Philosophy of Science, Robert and Maurine Rotschild Distinguished Lecture, 19. Nov. 1991, Cambridge, MA: Department of the History of Science, Harvard University. Reprinted in [Kuhn 2000, 105-120].

[31] Kuhn, T.S. 1993.- Afterwords

[32] Kuhn, T.S. 2000.- The Road since Structure. Philosophical Essays, 1970-1993, with an Autobiographical Interview, edited by J. Conant & J. Haugeland, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

[33] Lakatos I. and Musgrave A. 1970.- Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. | MR

[34] Lakoff, G. 1987.- Women, fire and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the mind, Chicago: Chicago University Press.

[35] Magnani L. and Nersessian N (editors) 2002.- Model-Based Reasoning: Science, technology, values, Dordrecht: Kluwer.

[36] Margolis, E. and Laurence, S. (editors) 1999.- Concepts: Core Readings, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

[37] Moore T.E. (editor) 1973.- Cognitive development and the acquisition of language, New York: Academic Press.

[38] Murphy G. L. and Medin D. L. 1985.- The role of theories in conceptual coherence, Psychological Review, 92: 289-316. Reprinted in [Margolis & Laurence 1999, 425-458].

[39] Neisser, U. (editor) 1987.- Concepts and Conceptual Development: Ecological and Intellectual Factors in Categorization, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[40] Nersessian, N.J. 1984.- Faraday to Einstein: Constructing Meaning in Scientific Theories, Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff.

[41] Nersessian, N.J. 2001.- Concept Formation and Commensurability

[42] Nickles T. (editor) 2003.- Thomas Kuhn, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[43] Nickles T. and Meheus J. (editors) Forthcoming.- Proceedings of the International Congress on Discovery and Creativity, Dordrecht: Kluwer.

[44] Ortony A. (editor) 1979.- Metaphor and Thought 1999.

[45] Poulsen, M.-B. J. and Andersen H. 2004.- The Early History of the Protein-Only Hypothesis

[46] Putnam, H. 1975a.- The meaning of ‘meaning'

[47] Putnam, H. 1975b.- Mind, Language and Reality. Philosophical Papers, vol. 2, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. | MR | Zbl

[48] Rosch, E. 1973a.- Natural categories, Cognitive Psychology, 4: 328-350.

[49] Rosch, E. 1973b.- On the internal structure of perceptual and semantic categories, in T.E. Moore (ed.): Cognitive development and the acquisition of language, New York: Academic Press, 111-144.

[50] Rosch, E. 1987.- Wittgenstein and Categorization Research in Cognitive Psychology

[51] Rosch E. and Mervis C.B. 1975.- Family Resemblance: Studies in the Internal Structure of Categories, Cognitive Psychology, 7: 573-605.

[52] Rosch, E., Mervis, C. B., Gray, W. D., Johnson, D. M., and Boyes-Braem, P. 1976.- Basic Objects in Natural Categories, Cognitive Psychology, 8: 382-439.

[53] Seguin E. & Reeves C. (editors) 2004.- Infectious Processes. Knowledge, Discourse, and Politics of Prions, Palgrave: Macmillan.

[54] Shapere, D. 1964.- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Philosophical Review LXXIII: 383-394.

[55] Shapere, D. 1989.- Evolution and Continuity in Scientific Change, Philosophy of Science, 56: 419-437. | MR

[56] Shapere, D. 2001.- Reasons and Radical Change

[57] Suppe F. (editor) 1974 .- The Structure of Scientific Theories, Urbana: University of Illinois Press. | MR