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Kuhn, Nominalism, and Empiricism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


In this paper I draw a connection between Kuhn and the empiricist legacy, specifically between his thesis of incommensurability, in particular in its later taxonomic form, and van Fraassen's constructive empiricism. I show that if it is the case the empirically equivalent but genuinely distinct theories do exist, then we can expect such theories to be taxonomically incommensurable. I link this to Hacking's claim that Kuhn was a nominalist. I also argue that Kuhn and van Fraassen do not differ as much as might be thought as regards the claim that observation is theory laden.

Research Article
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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