Commentary on Bird’s Paper
It is a pleasure to comment on Professor Bird’s paper because it is part of the excellent work he has done on Kuhn’s philosophy (most importantly Bird, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). His work is especially valuable to me because for the first time an author has provided a fully worked out interpretation of Kuhn that appears to be a real alternative to my own. His alternative interpretation has been intellectually liberating, offering a possible exit sign out of a reading of Kuhn that appeared unavoidable to me. Bird is entirely justified in stressing those elements in Kuhn’s theory that he calls “naturalistic”, providing a contrast to those elements that I stressed and that may be termed “Neo-Kantian”.
However, in the present paper Bird suggests an exciting new possibility that neither he nor I have seriously considered before, namely a possible reconciliation between the naturalistic and the Neo-Kantian view of Kuhn regarding world change (p. 36). In this commentary, I would like to pursue this line because it appears to be fruitful. Let me begin by first pinning down the contrast that is at issue.
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