Re: Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm?

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on March 01, 1999 at 10:50:22:

In Reply to: Re: Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm? posted by Steve Price on March 01, 1999 at 10:26:46:

: Dear Michael,

: If I understand you correctly, you argue that the existence of many ways of looking at things implies the absence of a paradigm. I think it is more appropriate to say that many ways are possible, and that there are what we might call schools of thought whose basic outlooks differ somewhat.

: To illustrate with a simple example, consider religious thought. There are many world views out there, ranging from a world more or less run by large numbers of supernatural beings who periodically meddle with events if appropriately asked, to a completely un-personal world, and there are belief systems of every shade in between those. Every one of these points of view is a paradigm, and the fact that there isn't universal agreement on one of them doesn't mean that there aren't any.

: To bring that into Rugville, different vistas are seen by collectors, decorators, weavers, dealers, etc., andby subgroups within each category (and probably by some horrified onlookers, too). The take on rugs of, say, an interior decorator is very different than what I believe yours and mine to be; the object is seen through a different set of filters. Thus, there are at least those two simultaneous paradigms (and, I think, many others). The decorator's might shift after some time, and ours might as well. History shows us that both are likely enough to be virtual certainties if we change "decorator" to "decorators" and change "you and me" to "mainstream collectors".

: How is the web likely to effect these things? That's a tough call, but I think it's safe to say that it is a mechanism by which any changes that occur will be accelerated.

: Steve P

Yes, I think you understand my point. It is a point made in the context of the use of the term paradigm as that is used in science and philosophy. For example, science believed that the earth was the center of the universe and scientists conducted their tests and evaluations accepting this construct or paradigm. Certain phenomena could not be squared with this construct or paradigm and ultimately this created a tension leading to a crisis that was solved after Copernicus offered the heliocentric model and that model was evaluated and criticised and found to better fit the phenomena observed. That change is what Kuhn referred to as a paradigm shift. By necessity, there has to be a shared set of beliefs or accepted model for there to be a revolution of paradigm shift. My point, in this context, is that where so many people see things so differently, and there are so many
different viewpoints there really cannot be a paradigm. Perhaps the Internet will lead to a paradigm being created.
Take care, Michael

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