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In science and philosophy, a paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field.


  • The most effective way to approach the problem of consciousness would be to use the descriptions of psychologists and cognitive scientists and attempt to map different aspects of their models onto what is known about the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the brain. Naturally we have attempted to do this but have not found it as useful as one might hope, although such models do point to the importance of attention and short-term memory and suggest that consciousness should have easy access to the higher, planning levels of the motor system.
    A major handicap is the pernicious influence of the paradigm of the von Neumann digital computer.
    • Francis Crick and Christof Koch, "Towards a neurobiological theory of consciousness." In Seminars in the Neurosciences, vol. 2, pp. 263–275. Saunders Scientific Publications, 1990.
  • The shared idea in the mind of society, the great big unstated assumptions, constitute that society's paradigm, or deepest beliefs about how the world works. [...] people who have managed to intervene in systems at the level of paradigm have hit a leverage point that totally transforms systems.
  • T. S. Kuhn's notion of a paradigm has replaced the positivist account of theories in many discussions, particularly in the social sciences. Most generally, a paradigm is a conceptual scheme representing a group's shared commitments and providing them with a way of looking at phenomena (Kuhn, 1970b). This notion is flexible enough to have much practical and historical applicability, but it is too vague to help with philosophical problems about explanation, justification, and meaning. Despite a professed desire to avoid total subjectivity, Kuhn has not succeeded in describing how paradigms can be rationally evaluated, or how different paradigms can relate to the same world, or even what it is for a paradigm to be used in solving a problem.
    • Paul Thagard, Computational Philosophy of Science (1988), Chapter 3. Theories and Explanations
  • Though one can question the extent to which Kuhn's cyclic theory of scientific revolution fits what we know of the history of science, in itself this theory would not be very disturbing, nor would it have made Kuhn's book famous. For many people, it is Kuhn's reinvention of the word "paradigm" that has been either most useful or most objectionable. … But the quarrel over the word "paradigm" seems to me unimportant. Kuhn was right that there is more to a scientific consensus than just a set of explicit theories. We need a word for the complex of attitudes and traditions that go along with our theories in a period of normal science, and "paradigm" will do as well as any other.
  • "Graphene" is the name given to a single-layer hexagonal lattice of carbon atoms, and extended two-dimensional lattice of benzene rings, devoid of hydrogen atoms. This one-atom-thick material has recently been found to be robust, if not completely planar, in samples tens of micrometers up to 30 inches in extent, on a supporting substrate. Graphene is a contender in the new information technology (and other) applications, beyond being a scientific breakthrough and curiosity. As we will see, electrons in graphene display properties similar to photons and neutrinos, never before observed in a condensed-matter environment. ...
    The discovery of graphene extends, beyond some theoretical predictions, what useful forms matter can take. It is truly a new paradigm.

See also[edit]

Philosophy of science
Concepts AnalysisA priori and a posterioriCausalityDemarcation problemFactInductive reasoningInquiryNatureObjectivityObservationParadigmProblem of inductionScientific methodScientific revolutionScientific theory
Related topics AlchemyEpistemologyHistory of scienceLogicMetaphysicsPseudoscienceRelationship between religion and scienceSociology of scientific knowledge
Philosophers of science PlatoAristotleStoicism
AverroesAvicennaRoger BaconWilliam of Ockham
Francis BaconThomas HobbesRené DescartesGalileo GalileiPierre GassendiIsaac NewtonDavid Hume
Immanuel KantFriedrich SchellingWilliam WhewellAuguste ComteJohn Stuart MillHerbert SpencerWilhelm WundtCharles Sanders PeirceHenri PoincaréPierre DuhemRudolf SteinerKarl Pearson
Alfred North WhiteheadBertrand RussellAlbert EinsteinOtto NeurathC. D. BroadMichael PolanyiHans ReichenbachRudolf CarnapKarl PopperW. V. O. QuineThomas KuhnImre LakatosPaul FeyerabendJürgen HabermasIan HackingBas van FraassenLarry LaudanDaniel Dennett

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