Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Arts and Humanities
A popular rejoinder to the potential threat that incommensurability might pose to scientific realism has been the referential response: despite meaning variance, there can be referential continuity, which is sufficient for rational theory choice. This response has been charged with meta-incommensurability, according to which it begs the question by assuming a realist metaphysics. However, realists take it to be a rhetorical device that hinders productive discussion. By reconstructing the debate, this paper aims to demonstrate two things. First, there are unexpected commonalities between realists and non-realists, meaning that the charge of meta-incommensurability is more or less exaggerated. Second, meta-incommensurability, which is to be found in the ways to make sense of referential overlap at the token level, still plays a role in the realism debate.