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PARADIGMS LOST: From Gottingen to Berlin

PARADIGMS LOST: From Gottingen to Berlin S y m p o s i u m : D e v a l u e d C u r r e n c y, P a r t 2 PARADIGMS LOST From Göttingen to Berlin Peter Burke As Karl Mannheim pointed out long ago, the idea of competition is a fruitful one for understanding intellectual and cultural history, no less than economic history.1 Competition between individuals is obvious enough, but there is also competition between styles — between Gothic and Renaissance architecture, for example — and between theories, as in the case of the competition between the models of the universe associated with Ptolemy and Copernicus. It was, of course, the example of Copernicus, whose work he had studied, that inspired Thomas Kuhn’s much-discussed concept of a paradigm.2 A paradigm acts like a cultural grid or filter. In other words, it allows some aspects of reality to be seen more clearly at the expense of hiding others. To take a well-known example from the humanities: the Malinowski paradigm of fieldwork in anthropology transformed the discipline and led to many positive achievements. However, these benefits had their costs. Their price — as in the case of the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

PARADIGMS LOST: From Gottingen to Berlin

Common Knowledge , Volume 14 (2) – Apr 1, 2008

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
© 2008 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
0961-754X
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-2007-071
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

S y m p o s i u m : D e v a l u e d C u r r e n c y, P a r t 2 PARADIGMS LOST From Göttingen to Berlin Peter Burke As Karl Mannheim pointed out long ago, the idea of competition is a fruitful one for understanding intellectual and cultural history, no less than economic history.1 Competition between individuals is obvious enough, but there is also competition between styles — between Gothic and Renaissance architecture, for example — and between theories, as in the case of the competition between the models of the universe associated with Ptolemy and Copernicus. It was, of course, the example of Copernicus, whose work he had studied, that inspired Thomas Kuhn’s much-discussed concept of a paradigm.2 A paradigm acts like a cultural grid or filter. In other words, it allows some aspects of reality to be seen more clearly at the expense of hiding others. To take a well-known example from the humanities: the Malinowski paradigm of fieldwork in anthropology transformed the discipline and led to many positive achievements. However, these benefits had their costs. Their price — as in the case of the

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2008

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