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Kuhn, Thomas and Scientific Paradigms

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This article describes Thomas Kuhn’s theory of science with special attention to the role played by paradigms and paradigm changes. After discussing the ambiguities in the concept “paradigm”, it distinguishes between three senses of paradigm: the paradigm as exemplar, the paradigm as theory; and the paradigm as disciplinary matrix. It then examines the impact that the concepts had in the social sciences, with special attention to sociology. Finally, it discusses Kuhn’s later views on science, where he conceptualizes what he called paradigm changes as lexical changes. It also discusses the fate of the paradigm concept.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
EditorsGeorge Ritzer, Chris Rojek
Number of pages3
Publication yearJun 2021
ISBN (print)9781405124331
ISBN (electronic)9781405165518
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

    Research areas

  • Thomas Kuhn, paradigms, paradigm change, scientific revolution, theory change

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