Commensurability (philosophy of science)

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Commensurability is a concept in the philosophy of science whereby scientific theories are said to be "commensurable" if scientists can discuss the theories using a shared nomenclature that allows direct comparison of them to determine which one is more valid or useful. On the other hand, theories are incommensurable if they are embedded in starkly contrasting conceptual frameworks whose languages do not overlap sufficiently to permit scientists to directly compare the theories or to cite empirical evidence favoring one theory over the other. Discussed by Ludwik Fleck in the 1930s,[1] and popularized by Thomas Kuhn in the 1960s, the problem of incommensurability results in scientists talking past each other, as it were, while comparison of theories is muddled by confusions about terms, contexts and consequences.