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Incommensurability and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis: Taking Kuhn Seriously

Gefaell, Juan and Cristian, Saborido (2022) Incommensurability and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis: Taking Kuhn Seriously. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the debate between the Modern Synthesis and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis in light of the concept of incommensurability developed by Thomas Kuhn. In order to do so, first we briefly present both the Modern Synthesis and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Then, we clarify the meaning and interpretations of incommensurability throughout Kuhn’s works, concluding that the version of this concept deployed in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is the best suited to the analysis of scientific disputes. After discussing incommensurability in Kuhn’s works, we address the question of whether the Modern Synthesis and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis can be considered semantically, methodologically, and ontologically incommensurable, concluding that they can. Finally, we discuss three problems that arise from such a conclusion: firstly, what are the consequences of incommensurability; secondly, which mode of scientific change better explains this current dispute in evolutionary biology; and thirdly, whether rational theory comparison is possible given incommensurability. We suggest that the main consequence of incommensurability is profound disagreement, that the kind of scientific change that better explains the current dispute between the MS and the EES may be scientific specialization, and that incommensurability does not preclude rational theory comparison.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Gefaell, Juangefaell@uvigo.es0000-0002-0452-6726
Cristian, Saboridocristian.saborido@fsof.uned.es0000-0001-8778-4298
Keywords: Evolutionary Biology, Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, Modern Synthesis, Incommensurability, Thomas S. Kuhn, Scientific Specialization.
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Mr. Juan Gefaell
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2022 17:47
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 17:47
Item ID: 20285
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 27 February 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20285

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