A dominant epistemological assumption behind Western philosophy is that it is possible to locate some form of commonality between languages, traditions, or cultures - such as a common language or lexicon, or a common notion of rationality - which makes full linguistic communication between them always attainable. Xinli Wang argues that the thesis of incommensurability challenges this assumption by exploring why and how linguistic communication between two conceptually disparate languages, traditions, or cultures is often problematic and even unattainable. According to Wang's presuppositional interpretation of incommensurability, the real secret of incommensurability lies in the ontological set-ups of two competing presuppositional languages. This book provides many original contributions to the discussion of incommensurability and related issues in philosophy and offers valuable insights to scholars in other fields, such as anthropology, communication, linguistics, scientific education, and cultural studies.

chapter 1|24 pages

The Many Facets of Incommensurability

chapter 2|28 pages

Incommensurability as Untranslatability

chapter 3|10 pages

Incommensurability and Conceptual Schemes

chapter 5|18 pages

Case Studies

The Emergence of Truth-Value Gaps

chapter 6|16 pages

Toward the Presuppositional Interpretation

chapter 7|26 pages

Kuhn’s Taxonomic Incommensurability

A Reconstruction

chapter 11|18 pages

Categorical Frameworks

chapter 12|22 pages

The Failure of Cross-Language Understanding

chapter 17|18 pages

The Concept of Incommensurability