Paradigm: An OK Concept for an A-OK People

Paradigm: An OK Concept for A-OK People

Margaret Masterman has written the essay “The Nature of a Paradigm” for inclusion in the book “Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge”.

Her conclusions are: “That there is normal science—and that it is exactly as Kuhn says it is…it is normally a habit-governed, puzzle-solving activity, not a fundamentally upheaving or falsifying activity…‘paradigm’ and not ‘hypothesis’ is now the ‘O.K. word’.”

Kuhn’s paradigm is a fundamental and new idea in the philosophy of science and deserves examination and understanding. Masterman contends that comprehending this new concept can best be undertaken by recognizing that ‘paradigm’ falls within three main epistemological categories.

As a “set of beliefs”, as a successful metaphysical speculation, as a standard, as a “way of seeing”, as an organizing principle itself, as a map, and “with something which determines a large area of reality”–it is a metaparadigm .

Kuhn also defines ‘paradigm’ as a universally recognized scientific achievement, as a concrete achievement, as a set of political institutions, and as likened to an accepted judicial decision—it is a sociological paradigm .

Finally, Kuhn speaks of a more concrete form for paradigm as a text book, as tools, as instrumentation, as a grammar, as an analogy, and as a gestalt figure—it is a construct paradigm .

If you have not yet read “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas Kuhn you must go directly to your closest college library, get a ‘Friend of the Library’ card for a small yearly fee, and study this book. Anybody wanting to be an enlightened and important person must study this book.

Do you agree that anyone wishing to become an enlightened and important person must study this book?

I read that. I think it’s very useful. I think Kuhn and Popper, while considered rivals on this issue, are talking about two sides of the same coin. I think you can manage a full and rich life without reading either, but that you have a clearer view of science from a “sociological” or (better) “methodological” viewpoint after having read both.


Well said!

Thanks. I try.