From Rupert Read & Wes Sharrock's "Thomas Kuhn's Misunderstood Relation to Kripke-Putnam Essentialism":
It is only given our post-Lavoisieric framework that we are forced to see water as largely H2O. Absent that framework, ‘water’-in-all-its-states is not necessarily viewed as a natural kind (as the quotes above from Kuhn make clear: liquidity was regarded as an essential property of water [in the 1750s]) – and still less is H2O. Kuhn is bringing talk of possible worlds, one might say (paraphrasing Wittgenstein), back from its metaphysical to a more everyday (i.e. everyday scientiﬁc) use. A taxonomy supplies a ‘set’ of possible worlds between which normal science goes on to choose. If something really threatens the taxonomy, we (imagining ourselves now into the position of scientists actually confronted by such an anomaly) cannot retreat to philosophers’ assurances about what all possible worlds must turn out to be like. Rather, sometimes, we must face the need to uproot fundamental assumptions about the set of possible worlds available to us and enabled for us by our taxonomy, our ‘ontology’, our thought-style.
Redubbing is then at least as important as dubbing; and, of course, in concert with Kuhn’s reasoned scepticism as to ‘Correspondencism’: progress through revolutions is not well-described as bringing us taxonomies which themselves come closer and closer to matching the universe’s ‘own’ taxonomy.
This sounds like a Kuhn much more to my taste than I found in "Structure"; I need to read Kuhn's later stuff some day. Though I'm not quite sure what a "taxonomy" is; it seems it can't just be a vocabulary if it carries with it "assumptions", but it's clearly supposed to be something more like a vocabulary than like a set of beliefs, or else the name (and all of the talk of "failures of translation") seems quite strange. Maybe the "assumptions" here are supposed to be analytic truths; but then it looks strange that they can need revising when things get rough. Though perhaps I'm wrong that Kuhn thinks they can need revising; perhaps it's just a fact that we do revise them. It's not that a taxonomy starts to look confused so much as that whatever taxonomy you use will end up looking shaggy after repeated use. So you get a new one, which isn't better, just new. Kuhn then ends up looking weirdly Carnapian. This seems like it can't be right.
The picture seems to be that a "taxonomy" involves assumptions about how the world might be, and it's these assumptions (inter alia) which provide a set of possible worlds that normal science tries to whittle down to a singleton. And then when that inevitably falls apart, a different taxonomy is adopted. And I think Kuhn does hold it to be inevitable; this seems to be why he denies that change of paradigms is progressive. You cease to be bothered by certain anomalies in normal science; this is the progress made by changing paradigms. But there will always be more anomalies elsewhere which previous paradigms didn't have to worry about (because they didn't come up). (I may be misremembering "Structure" here; I can't remember if he allowed a sense in which revolutions meant progress. Skimming the last chapter suggests he didn't.) Maybe it is a sort of ersatz Carnapianism, then. Hmm. Have to read more about this.
Read's article is a good counter to the "'Water' is a rigid designator, so it was never an element" line that people seem to take as decisive against Kuhn, though. This other article of his is pretty decent, too; he wants to stump for a version of "incommensurability" which is "non-semantic", but involves something related; he opens with Wittgenstein's bit about someone who "believed in the Last Judgement" and how his disagreement with the believer "would not show up at all in any explanation of the meaning" of their words. Incidentally, Jason Bridges's paper "Wittgenstein and Contextualism" (which has very little about Wittgenstein) closes with this quote, to make the point that "meaning" and "point" (in the Charles Travis sense, that the meaning of an utterance is heavily tied to our particular point in making it) are not the same thing. Getting clear on what's at stake in saying that something is or is not a matter of meaning seems potentially fruitful. It seems to be something different for Bridges and for Read.