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Paradigms

Meaning of the term "Paradigm"

Thomas Kuhn The word "paradigm" was originally one of those obscure academic terms that has undergone many changes of meaning over the centuries.  The classical Greeks used it to refer to an original archetype or ideal.  Later it came to refer to a grammatical term.  In the early 1960s the Philosopher of Science external link Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) wrote a ground breaking book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, n which he showed that science does not progress in an orderly fashion from lesser to greater truth, but rather remains fixated on a particular dogma or explanation - a paradigm - which is only overthrown with great difficulty and a  new paradigm established.  Thus the Copernican system (the sun at the centre of the universe) overthrew the Ptolemaic (the earth at the centre) one, and Newtonian physics was replaced by Relativity and Quantum Physics.  Science thus consists of periods of conservativism ("Normal Science") punctuated by periods of Revolutionary Science

Science and the Paradigm
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The Paradigm - a broader perspective
Ways of Knowing


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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 27 May 1998, last modified 18 June 2004