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Words or Worlds: The Metaphysics within Kuhn’s Picture of Science

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Title: Words or Worlds: The Metaphysics within Kuhn’s Picture of Science
Author: Price, Justin
Department: Department of History
Program: Philosophy
Advisor: Wayne, Andrew
Abstract: This thesis project establishes that there is a metaphysical theory underlying Kuhn’s work, and that it plays an important role in justifying his arguments regarding scientific theory change. Chapter 1 explains how this metaphysical theory has led to what I will call the ‘world problem’ within The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It stems from the ambiguous use of the word ‘world’ and the problem is how one can account for either of its uses within Structure. In some cases it is used to refer to a single non-changing world and in other cases it is used to refer to a world that changes with a change in paradigms. In Chapter 2 it is argued that this problem has led to a dissonance between the critic responding to Kuhn’s work and the work itself, resulting in the critics’ arguments ‘talking past’ what is presented in Structure. This emphasizes the need for an adequate account of Kuhn’s metaphysical theory. Chapter 3 establishes that for Kuhn a metaphysical theory was vital to his continued work (especially regarding his response to the critics examined within Chapter 2) and how a robust account was lacking. Chapter 4 investigates what a more robust account would be by considering an inadequate solution and an adequate one.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/6620
Date: 2013-05


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