Kuhn on reference and essence
Philosophia Scientiae, Volume 8 (2004) no. 1, pp. 39-71.

Kuhn's incommensurability thesis seems to challenge scientific realism. One response to that challenge is to focus on the continuity of reference. The causal theory of reference in particular seems to offer the possibility of continuity of reference that would provide a basis for the sort of comparability between theories that the realist requires. In “Dubbing and Redubbing: The Vulnerability of Rigid Designation” Kuhn attacks the causal theory and the essentialism to which it is related. Kuhn's view is defended by Rupert Read and Wes Sharrock [Read & Sharrok 2002b]. In this paper I examine the arguments presented by Kuhn, Read, and Sharrock and show that they provide no reason to doubt either the causal theory or essentialism.

La thèse kuhnienne de l’incommensurabilité semble mettre en cause le réalisme scientifique. Une réponse à cette mise en cause consiste à se focaliser sur la continuité de la référence. La théorie causale de la référence, en particulier, semble offrir la possibilité d’une continuité de la référence susceptible de fournir une base pour l’espèce de comparabilité entre théories que requiert le réaliste. Dans «baptiser et rebaptiser  : la vulnérabilité des désignations rigides», Kuhn attaque la théorie causale et l’essentialisme auquel cette théorie est liée. La position de Kuhn est défendue par Rupert Read et Wes Sharrok [Read & Sharrok 2002b]. Dans cet article, j’examine les arguments présentés par Kuhn, Read et Sharrok, et je montre qu’ils ne fournissent aucune raison de douter ni de la théorie causale, ni de l’essentialisme.

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Bird, Alexander. Kuhn on reference and essence. Philosophia Scientiae, Volume 8 (2004) no. 1, pp. 39-71. http://archive.numdam.org/item/PHSC_2004__8_1_39_0/

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