paradigm shift

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Coined by physicist Thomas S. Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962).


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paradigm shift (plural paradigm shifts)

  1. A radical change in thinking from an accepted point of view to a new one, necessitated when new scientific discoveries produce anomalies in the current paradigm. [from 1962]
    • 2012 August 12, John Naughton, “Thomas Kuhn: the man who changed the way the world looked at science”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The trouble is that over longer periods unresolved anomalies accumulate and eventually get to the point where some scientists begin to question the paradigm itself. [] In the end, the crisis is resolved by a revolutionary change in world-view in which the now-deficient paradigm is replaced by a newer one. This is the paradigm shift of modern parlance and after it has happened the scientific field returns to normal science, based on the new framework. And so it goes on.
  2. (US) A radical change in thinking from an accepted point of view to a new belief.
    • 1996, Shahariz Abdul Aziz, Jeyakody Parthiban, Fuzzy Sets and Operations
      Fuzzy Set Theory was formalised by Professor Lofti Zadeh at the University of California in 1965. What Zadeh proposed is very much a paradigm shift that first gained acceptance in the Far East and its successful application has ensured its adoption around the world.

Related terms[edit]


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  • Joe Miller (9 February 2018), “Are these the worst examples of business jargon?”, in BBC News[2], BBC

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