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what is a Paradigm?

In science and philosophy, a paradigm (/prdam/) is a set of ideas or thought patterns that are different from each other. These ideas include theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what is good in a field.

In Greek, paradigm comes from the verb paradeiknumi (paradeiknumi), which means “exhibit, represent, show, expose,” as well as (para), “beside, beyond,” and (deiknumi), which means “to show, to point out.”

Paradeigma is used in rhetoric to show an example of things that happen in the same way to an audience. These words don’t mean that this picture is meant to lead the audience to a conclusion. Instead, it is used to help them find their way.

People who work as personal accountants could be an example of how a paradeigma is meant to help them. They don’t tell their clients what to do with their money, but they help their clients figure out how they should spend their money based on what they want to do with it. Anaximenes said that paradeigma was “actions that have happened before and are similar to, or different from, the ones we are now talking about.”

The word ‘paradigm’ comes from the Greek term ‘paradeigma,’ meaning pattern or example. ‘Paradeigma,’ in turn, is derived from the verb' paradeiknumi,' which means to exhibit or to represent.

A paradigm is defined as a model, a pattern, or a typical example of something. In philosophy and science, a paradigm refers to a well-defined theoretical framework within which laws, theories, generalizations, and experiments are performed to prove and support the formulated paradigms.

In other words, paradigms are a definite assemblage of postulates, theories, standards, and research methods required for an admissible contribution to research (on any subject).

Paradigm In Rhetoric And Linguistics

In the art of rhetoric, paradeigma provides a demonstration or an instance of similar events. The rhetorical function of paradeigma is to guide the audience or anyone who is at the receiving end of the speech.

The Greek rhetorician and historian Anaximenes of Lampsacus defined paradeigma as actions or events that have occurred before and are similar to or opposite of those being discussed at the current moment. In his dialogues, Timaeus and Parmenides, the notable Greek philosopher Plato describes paradeigma as a possible model or pattern for creating the cosmos used by the demiurge.

A paradigm was understood solely in the study of rhetoric and grammar until the twentieth century. Fables and parables were often exemplified by associating them with paradigms. In morphology, a linguistic paradigm refers to the complete set of related word forms linked with a particular lexeme. In other words, a set of linguistic elements forming mutually exclusive choices in definite syntactic roles is called a paradigm in linguistics.

In linguistics, a lexeme is the basic linguistic unit of a language that consists of one or more words where the constituent elements of the words do not convey the meaning of the whole separately. An example of a linguistic paradigm is the conjugation of verbs. The Swiss linguist and semiotician Ferdinand de Saussure used the word paradigm to refer to a group of elements characterized by their similarities. For example, arranging a given set of words based on their shared categories of tense, mood, case, etc.

Paradigm In Science

The famous science historian and philosopher Thomas Samuel Kuhn defined a paradigm as a set of concepts and practices that elucidate a scientific discipline in a specific period of time. Thomas Kuhn’s definition is the accepted definition of paradigm in mainstream science. In his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), Thomas Kuhn described a scientific paradigm as a universally recognized scientific achievement that presents model problems and solutions to the scientific community for some time until a newer model of paradigm comes along.

Some of the questions that the scientific paradigm, according to Thomas Kuhn, poses are โ€“ what needs to be observed and analyzed, what kind of questions scientists need to ask in connection to the particular topic they are studying, and how the questions must be structured for a reasonable hypothesis. Other questions include what the researchers can make possible predictions and how a particular experiment should be conducted and the results interpreted.

A widely accepted contemporary example of a paradigm in natural sciences is the standard model of physics. The standard model of particle physics thesis explains the fundamental forces of electromagnetism and weak and strong interactions in the universe. This model also delineates and classifies the known elementary particles in existence.

Influenced by the Kuhnian definition in the philosophy of science, other fields of study have also borrowed the term paradigm to describe worldviews, mindsets, and significant ideologies. The French philosopher and theorist Michel Foucault also used terms like episteme, discourse, taxinomia, and mathesis to describe certain paradigm aspects in the Kuhnian understanding. These terms are primarily applied in the fields of social sciences and philosophy.

Paradigm Shift In Scientific Paradigms

A paradigm shift is an essential concept in science. This concept was also identified by the American philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn. According to Kuhn, a paradigm shift is a constitutional change in any scientific discipline’s basic understanding of concepts and experimental practices.

For example, the shift from the acceptance of a Ptolemaic model of cosmology to the Copernican astronomical model was a significant paradigm shift in astronomy. Similarly, replacing classical mechanics in physics with the model of quantum mechanics is an example of a paradigm shift. Although Thomas Kuhn described paradigm shift only in natural sciences, the idea of paradigm shift can also be applied to the social sciences.

Paradigm In Social Sciences

Disciplines of study like sociology which use conventional labels, often use the concept of paradigm in their research. A well-defined paradigm provides a proper plan and outline for proceeding with the study. M. L. Handa introduced the idea of a social paradigm in the context of social sciences. Handa also described some essential components of a social paradigm.

In various disciplines of social sciences, a paradigm is usually used to refer to worldviews. It can be used to talk about a set of beliefs, values, or experiences that affect an individual or the way they perceive reality. Social scientists also debate the idea of a paradigm shift.

Paradigm Shift In The Field of Social Sciences

A paradigm shift can mean how a particular society organizes itself and understands reality in the social sciences. The dominant paradigm of a specific community can be explained as the values that are predominantly accepted there and considered the standard at that given time.

The dominant paradigm of a society is influenced by the cultural and historical background in which it exists. The paradigm is also understood as an archetype, particularly in the field of design.

There can be spiritual paradigms as well. For example, when certain sets of philosophical or spiritual concepts are categorized together according to their similarities, or perhaps to provide a model for further intellectual and spiritual inquiry, they can be said to form a spiritual or philosophical paradigm.


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