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IdealismNew Essays in Metaphysics$
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Tyron Goldschmidt and Kenneth L. Pearce

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746973

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198746973.001.0001

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Idealism and Incommensurability

Idealism and Incommensurability

(p.259) 16 Idealism and Incommensurability

Marc Lange

Oxford University Press

Kuhn famously talks about the scientists after a scientific revolution living in a different ‘world’ from the scientists prior to the revolution. This talk could be understood in lots of different ways, but one way is certainly that the notion of truth is relative to a paradigm—a form of idealism. This chapter lays this out and argues against it by arguing against the strong form of incommensurability on which it relies. In particular, the chapter (i) argues that even in the course of a Kuhnian ‘crisis,’ arguments from neutral ground for or against some candidate paradigms can be mounted, and (ii) argues against Feyerabend’s contention that because the rivals in a ‘crisis’ disagree on the gold standards for reliable observations, there is no non-question-begging way to confirm or to disconfirm those rivals. The chapter draws upon Galilean examples to argue for each of these points.

Keywords:   Kuhn, incommensurability, scientific revolutions, Galileo, Copernican revolution, Feyerabend, thought experiment, dimensions

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