Incommensurability: Threat or Tool for Boundary Crossing Research?
18 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2013 Last revised: 30 Aug 2014
Date Written: November 12, 2013
In this paper, we defend the thesis that, as far as disciplinary boundaries crossing research is concerned, incommensurability can be seen as playing a positive crucial role (instead of being considered in the abstract as negligible or synonymous to full enclosure). Following the post-positivist insights, we assume that incommensurability phenomena are constitutive part of disciplinary boundaries reflecting their thickness and structure. We thus argue that the analysis of how incommensurability phenomena occur and are structured in concrete research settings constitutes a tool susceptible to constitute a measure of the separation between the various frameworks and to contribute determining what kind of specific (interparadigmatic) work should be deployed to ensure the settling of a suitable research mode. Thereby, in this article, we first delineate different meanings provided by Kuhn to the notion of incommensurability and select the relevant one with respect to the perspective of disciplinary boundaries crossing research. Then we show how these selected notions are relevant regarding boundaries crossing research. The relevance of our reading of incommensurability phenomena being established, we then detail how the analysis of these phenomena can play the role of a fruitful tool guiding the specific interparadigmatic work required for the settling of disciplinary boundaries crossing research.
Keywords: interdisciplinarity; incommensurability; paradigm; disciplinary boundaries
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation