incommensurability


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incommensurability

  1. a relation between scientific theories in which the propositions and overall content of the theories cannot be directly compared.
  2. a conception of scientific theories which holds that all observations are theory-relative (see THEORY-RELATIVITY), and that there may exist no theory-neutral data language of the kind assumed by inductive, logical positivist or falsificationist conceptions of science. The conception is most associated with Thomas KUHN and Paul FEYERABEND and it is often assumed to also imply a more general RELATIVISM. However, this is not Feyerabend's view: incommensurability is seen as a possible, not a necessary, relation between theories. If theories cannot always be strictly compared in terms of a theory-neutral data language (or using any unambiguous or unchanging decision rule), the proponents of competing theories can enter into a dialogue with the aim of appreciating each other's view and reaching a decision on this basis. See also TRUTH. POSITIVISM, FALSIFICATIONISM.
References in periodicals archive ?
This relation is not really one of contradiction; it is rather one of incommensurability.
I shall turn now to the issues of incommensurability and lack of information (Chang 1997; Lariguet 2008; Williams 1981).
Two additional dimensions of Lindbeck's Wittgensteinian notion of incommensurability can help those looking to discover meaning in interreligious conversations.
Considering the incommensurability version first, this holds that the experience of Aboriginal people is radically different.
Invoking Lukacs' definition of the novel as the form of the age of 'absolute sinfulness' (p44), Bewes describes shame as both the experience of incommensurability between a subject and the world, as well as the formal resolution of that discrepancy (p45).
And indeed, it is possible to do so at all given the seeming incommensurability of pre-industrialised and industrialised cultures in particular?
Reminded of such incommensurability in Henry V, Shakespeare's epic warriorking can only resort to specious logic and throw down the gage of battle.
Following Lukacs, Bewes sees the novel as defined by incommensurability between form and content, between ethical aims and aesthetic strategies.
So, the question about incommensurability leads to a perhaps more fundamental question.
If, for whatever reason, the level of mutual understanding is low, we say that we are in a situation of incommensurability.
As Foot points out, it is not an unfamiliar idea that the former may include an element of incommensurability (this is not to say, of course, that considerations of incommensurability were not raised in relation to the latter area as well).