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Methodological Pluralism, Incommensurability And The Scientific Status Of Traditional Knowledge

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Scientiae Studia


Cultural values may constructively have impact on scientific practices, and lead to legitimate culture-based variations in approaches to them. It follows that traditional or indigenous knowledge need not stand opposed to scientific knowledge, and only investigation on a case-by-case basis can establish whether or not the cognitive credentials of particular traditional knowledge claims are adequate or deficient. Building on an analysis of how different methodological strategies may both compete and complement one another, I argue that what is defensible about Thomas Kuhn's notion of incommensurability, and the possibility of the sound scientific status of traditional knowledge, have the same source.
Os valores culturais podem ter um impacto construtivo nas práticas científicas e levar a variações culturais legítimas nas abordagens sobre as mesmas. Segue-se que o conhecimento tradicional ou indígena não precisa opor-se ao conhecimento científico, e somente a investigação caso-a-caso pode estabelecer se as credenciais cognitivas de itens particulares do conhecimento tradicional são adequadas ou deficientes. Com base em uma análise de como as estratégias metodológicas podem tanto competir quanto complementar umas às outras, eu argumento que o que há de defensável na noção de incomensurabilidade de Thomas Kuhn e a possibilidade da solidez do status científico do conhecimento tradicional compartilham da mesma fonte.

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This work is freely available courtesy of Universidade de São Paulo under a Creative Commons license. The full text can also be accessed via SciELO.

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