Rethinking Scientific Change and Theory Comparison

Stabilities, Ruptures, Incommensurabilities?

  • Léna Soler
  • Howard Sankey
  • Paul Hoyningen-Huene

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 255)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Incommensurability, As Differences in Quasi-Intuitive Cognitive Capacities: A Task for Psychology?

    1. Léna Soler
      Pages 1-17
    2. Alexander Bird
      Pages 21-39
    3. Paul Hoyningen-Huene
      Pages 41-46
  3. Incommensurability in a Wittgensteinian Perspective: How to Make Sense of Nonsense

  4. Intra-Theoretical Change, as a Subjective Creative Elucidation of an Objective Formerly Present Content

  5. Investigating the Continuities of Scientific Theorizing: A Task for the Bayesian?

  6. From the Cumulativity of Physical Predictions to the Cumulativity of Physics

  7. From Denotational Continuity to Entity Realism

  8. Is a Realist Interpretation of Quantum Physics Possible?

  9. Ontological Continuity: A Policy for Model Building or an Argument in Favour of Scientific Realism?

    1. Mauricio Suárez
      Pages 239-243
  10. A Change of Perspective: Dissolving the Incommensurability Problem in the Framework of a Theoretical Pluralism Incorporating an Instrumental Rationality

  11. What Can Philosophical Theories of Scientific Method Do?

    1. Martin Carrier
      Pages 273-290
    2. Michel Bitbol
      Pages 291-296
  12. A New Kind of Incommensurability at the Level of Experimental Practices?

  13. Pragmatic Breakdowns: A New Kind of Scientific Revolution?

  14. Back Matter
    Pages 385-395

About this book


The volume is a collection of essays devoted to the analysis of scientific change and stability. It explores the balance and tension that exists between commensurability and continuity on the one hand, and incommensurability and discontinuity on the other. And it discusses some central epistemological consequences regarding the nature of scientific progress, rationality and realism. In relation to these topics, it investigates a number of new avenues and revisits some familiar issues, with a focus on the history and philosophy of physics, and an emphasis on developments in cognitive sciences as well as on the claims of "new experimentalists".

The book is constituted of fully revised versions of papers which were originally presented at the international colloquium held at the University of Nancy, France, in June 2004. Each paper is followed by a critical commentary. The conference was a striking example of the sort of genuine dialogue that can take place between philosophers of science, historians of science and scientists who come from different traditions and endorse opposing commitments. This is one of the attractions of the volume.


Incommensurability Ludwig Wittgenstein Scientific realism Scientific revolutions Theory change idea objectivity quantum mechanics reason science

Editors and affiliations

  • Léna Soler
    • 1
  • Howard Sankey
    • 2
  • Paul Hoyningen-Huene
    • 3
  1. 1.LPHS-Archives Henri PoincaréNancyFrance
  2. 2.School of PhilosophyUniversity of MelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Center for Philosophy and Ethics of ScienceUniversity of HannoverGermany

Bibliographic information