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The meaning of «paradigm»

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

Paradigm comes from Greek παράδειγμα (paradeigma), "pattern, example, sample"[1] from the verb παραδείκνυμι (paradeiknumi), "exhibit, represent, expose"[2] and that from παρά (para), "beside, beyond"[3] and δείκνυμι (deiknumi), "to show, to point out".[4]

In rhetoric, the purpose of paradeigma is to provide an audience with an illustration of similar occurrences. This illustration is not meant to take the audience to a conclusion, however it is used to help guide them there.

One way of how a paradeigma is meant to guide an audience would be a personal accountant. It is not the job of a personal accountant to tell their client exactly what (and what not) to spend their money on, but to aid in guiding their client as to how money should be spent based on their financial goals. Anaximenes defined paradeigma as "actions that have occurred previously and are similar to, or the opposite of, those which we are now discussing."[5]

The original Greek term παράδειγμα (paradeigma) was used in Greek texts such as Plato's Timaeus (28 AD) and Parmenides as one possibility for the model or the pattern that the demiurge used to create the cosmos.[6][7] The term had a technical meaning in the field of grammar: the 1900 Merriam-Webster dictionary defines its technical use only in the context of grammar or, in rhetoric, as a term for an illustrative parable or fable. In linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure used paradigm to refer to a class of elements with similarities.

The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary defines this usage as "a philosophical and theoretical framework of a scientific school or discipline within which theories, laws, and generalizations and the experiments performed in support of them are formulated; broadly: a philosophical or theoretical framework of any kind."[8]

The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy attributes the following description of the term to Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions:

Kuhn suggests that certain scientific works, such as Newton's Principia or John Dalton's New System of Chemical Philosophy (1808), provide an open-ended resource: a framework of concepts, results, and procedures within which subsequent work is structured. Normal science proceeds within such a framework or paradigm. A paradigm does not impose a rigid or mechanical approach, but can be taken more or less creatively and flexibly.[9]

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a paradigm as "a pattern or model, an exemplar; a typical instance of something, an example".[10] The historian of science Thomas Kuhn gave it its contemporary meaning when he adopted the word to refer to the set of concepts and practices that define a scientific discipline at any particular period of time. In his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (first published in 1962), Kuhn defines a scientific paradigm as: "universally recognized scientific achievements that, for a time, provide model problems and solutions for a community of practitioners,[11] i.e.,

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