Thomas Kuhn's Misunderstood Relation to Kripke-Putnam Essentialism
Read (Rupert) & Sharrock (Wes)
Source: Journal for General Philosophy of Science; Jun2002, Vol. 33 Issue 1, p151, 8p
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary


EBSCOHost Abstract

    Kuhn's `taxonomic conception' of natural kinds enables him to defend and re-specify the notion of incommensurability against the idea that it is reference, not meaning/use, that is overwhelmingly important. Kuhn's ghost still lacks any reason to believe that referentialist essentialism undercuts his central arguments in SSR – and indeed, any reason to believe that such essentialism is even coherent, considered as a doctrine about anything remotely resembling our actual science. The actual relation of Kuhn to Kripke-Putnam essentialism, is as follows: Kuhn decisively undermines it – drawing upon the inadequacies of such essentialism when faced with the failure of attempts to instantiate in history or contemporaneously its `thought-experiment1' – and leaves the field open instead for his own more `realistic', deflationary way of thinking about the operation of `natural kinds' in science.

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