University of Oulu

Kuukkanen, J. (2021). Truth, Incoherence, and the Evolution of Science. In K. Wray (Ed.), Interpreting Kuhn: Critical Essays (pp. 202-221). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108653206.012

Truth, incoherence, and the evolution of science

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Author: Kuukkanen, Jouni-Matti
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Cambridge University Press, 2021
Publish Date: 2023-02-02


I spell out Kuhn’s rationale for pursuing the evolutionary approach. He first concluded that the historical record does not support the assumption that science develops teleologically towards the truth, which then led him to outline an evolutionary view of scientific development. Kuhn argues that the future of the sciences is open-ended and that the sciences are bound to diversify, not unify. Because the historical process of the sciences leads to an ever more fragmented outcome, there is no coherent worldview at the end of this process. Kuhn thought that not only sciences fail to arrive at the final truth about the world, but that truth as correspondence to the mind-independent world must be rejected. Because sciences’ niches, in which sciences are practiced, change, there simply is no fixed and permanent mind-independent world to which statements and theories could correspond. Nevertheless, Kuhn was interested in the function of ‘truth,’ that is, the possibility to judge whether beliefs and theories should be accepted or rejected. I argue that a specific Sellarsian pragmatist notion of truth, which understands truth as semantic assertibility, serves Kuhn’s interests well.

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ISBN Print: 978-1-108-49829-6
Pages: 201 - 221
Article number: 11
DOI: 10.1017/9781108653206.012
Host publication: Interpreting Kuhn : Critical Essays
Host publication editor: Wray, K. Brad
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
611 Philosophy
Copyright information: © Cambridge University Press