-- a university of arizona
course on methods and approaches for studying the future
Paradigms can be thought
of as the framework that has unwritten rules but directs actions. There are
several definitions below and some links to varying perspectives or applications
of paradigms. When one paradigm looses influence and another takes over, there
is a paradigm shift. Knowing in advance how a paradigm shift might occur gives
you an advantage over others. Also look at Driving
Forces. My views on paradigms
and driving forces are also available.
Paradigm: A set of assumptions,
concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality
for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.
USAGE NOTE: Paradigm first appeared in English in the 15th century, meaning
an example or pattern, and it still bears this meaning today:
Their company is a paradigm of the small high-tech firms that have recently
sprung up in this area. For nearly 400 years paradigm has also been applied
to the patterns of inflections that are used to sort the verbs, nouns, and
other parts of speech of a language into groups that are more easily studied.
Since the 1960s, paradigm has been used in science to refer to a theoretical
framework, as when Nobel Laureate David Baltimore cited the work of two colleagues
that really established a new paradigm for our understanding of the
causation of cancer. Thereafter, researchers in many different fields,
including sociology and literary criticism, often saw themselves as working
in or trying to break out of paradigms. Applications of the term in other
contexts show that it can sometimes be used more loosely to mean the
prevailing view of things. The Usage Panel splits down the middle on
these nonscientific uses of paradigm. Fifty-two percent disapprove of the
sentence The paradigm governing international competition and competitiveness
has shifted dramatically in the last three decades.
Paradigm: 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 Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) wrote a ground breaking book,
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in 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 center of the universe) overthrew the
Ptolemaic (the earth at the center) one, and Newtonian physics was replaced
by Relativity and Quantum Physics. Science thus consists of periods of conservatism
("Normal" Science) punctuated by periods of "Revolutionary"
Paradigm Shift : When
anomalies or inconsistencies arise within a given paradigm and present problems
that we are unable to solve within a given paradigm, our view of reality must
change, as must the way we perceive, think, and value the world. We must take
on new assumptions and expectations that will transform our theories, traditions,
rules, and standards of practice. We must create a new paradigm in which we
are able to solve the insolvable problems of the old paradigm.