María Angelica Mejia on Paradigm Shifts

A paradigm originally mean pattern or model, however it is a standard, perspective, or set of ideas, based in cultural ideas. A paradigm is a way of looking at something. It is the commonly accepted views about a subject, a structure of what direction research should take and how it should be performed.

Thomas KuhnThomas Kuhn was a historian and philosopher of American science, known for his contribution to the shift of philosophy and scientific sociology in the sixties. In 1962, he published the book “The structure of scientific revolutions” in which he described the evolution of basic science in a complete different point of view. Kuhn described the Paradigm as “the practices that define a scientific discipline at certain point in time”, he also said “universally recognized scientific achievements that, for a time, provide model problems and solutions for a community of researchers”

A paradigm describes:

Paradigm graphic - WP

What is a Paradigm Shift?

Is a change of view, the new paradigm is not necessarily better than the old, just different, is a shift, and the new paradigm could not be built upon the foundations of the old. The shift of paradigm it is presented when an “Anomaly” is presented in the paradigm, leading to new paradigms, changing the rules, knowledge and beliefs. Kuhn said that a shift of paradigm is a mix of sociology, enthusiasm and the scientific promise but is not a logic procedure.

In the book “The structure of scientific revolutions”, Kuhn describe the phases of a paradigm:

Paradigm graphic 2 - WP

Why it is important a Shift of Paradigm on a Sustainable Development?

The environmental sustainability is a problem   large and complex, that the problem entails creation of a new paradigm, the problem requires compromise and  a new way of thinking. The human system growth cannot be infinite, the progress cannot be forever.

Environmentalism finds itself in the Prescience step of the Kuhn Cycle. It lacks a valid paradigm for solving its central problem of sustainability. Yet the field’s members are assuming they are in the Normal Science step, where a field has a paradigm that works well enough.  Civilization as a whole is in the Model Crisis step.

Paradigm graphic 3 - WP

* References: Wikipedia

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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the IMBA Seminar on Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy of the Institut Supérieur de Gestion, Paris, March 2015.

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