Meta-incommensurability Revisited



Published 16-04-2014
Hyundeuk Cheon


A popular rejoinder to the potential threat that incommensurability might pose to scientific realism has been the referential response: despite meaning variance, there can be referential continuity, which is sufficient for rational theory choice. This response has been charged with meta-incommensurability, according to which it begs the question by assuming realist metaphysics. However, realists take it to be a rhetorical device that hinders productive discussion. By reconstructing the debate, this paper aims to demonstrate two things. First, there are unexpected commonalities between realists and non-realists, meaning that the charge of meta-incommensurability is more or less exaggerated. Second, meta-incommensurability, which is to be found in the ways to make sense of referential overlap at the token level, still plays a role in the realism debate.

How to Cite

Cheon, H. (2014). Meta-incommensurability Revisited. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 29(2), 243–259.
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incommensurability, meta-incommensurability, scientific realism, Sankey, Hoyningen-Huene, token-referential overlap