Re: Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm?

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on March 01, 1999 at 07:29:07:

In Reply to: Re: Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Paradigm? posted by Steve Price on March 01, 1999 at 05:40:14:

: Dear Michael and All,

: While I believe most of what you say is right on, I disagree with the assertion that there is no paradigm in the world of rug collecting. In fact, I think there may be too many paradigms, which implies that "the world of rug collecting" really should be expressed as a plural rather than singular. What we might call mainstream rug collectors usually agree on what is "good" and what isn't, and this means that they must have some rules that they are all using, even if they do so at a subconscious level or in a way that they are unable to articulate.

: Here are what I think are some of the mainstream rules: we value things that we think are beautiful, older than we are ourselves, and in some way reflect a culture different than our own.

: Will the internet change these rules? Like you, I doubt it. But in the other worlds of rug collectors, those whose rules are a bit different, it may help to educate them and help them learn to THINK RIGHT (like us!).

: This gets us to the nub of the matter. The internet is an incredibly rich source of information. That's great. It's also an incredibly rich source of misinformation, as anyone can confirm every single day. That's not so great. This isn't peculiar to the worlds of rug collecting, but is a simple consequence of the ease with which information can be put onto the web and the ease with which it can be accessed.

: Perhaps in another thread we can deal with the subject of books versus the web as information sources and repositories.

: Regards,

: Steve Price

Dear Steve:
I think your point that there are too many paradigms
in the rug world makes my point. If there is no shared
conceptual world, no collection of beliefs, no intertwined
methodological belief that permits selection, evaluation
and criticism there is no paradigm. You desire that by
information others will come to share your and perhaps my
conceptual world does not invalidate those other worlds or
evidence a paradigm. I think in structure the argument is
that the Internet and these different beliefs underscore
the primitive level of rug studies. If Kuhn is right, this
will lead through successive stages and refinements. The
question I see is who will dominate and focus these stages?
Will commercial interests and pale colored Agras, will modern
vegetal dyed persianate copies made in China, India and
Pakistan? Will lovers of tribal caprets? Who knows where this
will go. Misinformation and the ability to make contributions
with lightening speed without diligent analysis and research is
a real threat.
Regards, Michael

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