What is “paradigm”?
Department of Informatics, University of Oslo
Postbox 1080 Blindern 0316 Oslo, Norway
Abstract. Today, the word “paradigm” is being used with a vague definition.
In this paper, an attempt at clarifying the meaning of the word “paradigm” is
made, with reference to its philosophical roots and how it came to its
proliferation of use.
The last decades witnessed a proliferation of the use of the word “paradigm”, in
connection with many subjects. But the question still runs unnoticed: What exactly is
“paradigm? And where did it come from? This paper is an attempt to put together
answers to these two questions.
The word surely escaped from the laboratory of philosophers, mostly due to the
fact that its meaning is vague. Kuhn’s use of it as an inherited set of preconceptions,
acting as a darkened glass from which we perceive the world, gave the word a mystic
aura. Then it was only a natural consequence for everyone and anyone who are to
make a claim in changing the way the world goes around to come about advocating
their point of view as “the new paradigm” which gets rid of the “blinding effects of
the previous one”! So the word’s popularity has grown in direct proportion to the
watering down of its meaning, which was never exactly concrete to start with, and
has grown thinner with every new use .