Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Was sind, und wie wirken Grundüberzeugungen in unserer Zeit? Über „Paradigmen“ und „Paradigmenveränderungen“ in der heutigen politischen und sozialen Sphäre – und die Folgen. Ein Gespräch mit Roland Benedikter, Stanford Universität. English summary included. What are basic assumptions, and which effects do they have in our time? On “paradigms” and “paradigm change” in the contemporary political and social domain, and the consequences. A conversation with Roland Benedikter, Stanford University.

 

English Summary: This talk clarifies what is meant by the pervasive but seldom-precise use of the term “paradigm change.” While it appears that this term is often (unwillingly) misused particularly by integral and progressive intellectuals and civil society groups as an instrument of predicting future cultural change, it is argued that it should rather be used as a tool of analysis of the past and the present of basic cultural and scientific convictions that dominate their times. In fact, a “paradigm” is defined as a collective bias (or, to use a more technical explanation, a “knowledge-constituting collective prejudice”) on certain issues. It defines the validity of what is meant to be true, and what to be false, and what can be accepted as valid, and what not, in a given society at a given time for a given period. A “paradigm” is always functioning (a) as a “constitutive paradox” because its claim is to define what is true and what not, but at the same time it is continuously replaced by new paradigms that coin different definitions – thus contradicting the very essence of “paradigm” as such; and (b) by incubation periods, i.e., by phases where different claims on what is valid coexist or even form hybrids among them. In the end, “paradigms” are something irrational and in most cases un- or half-conscious cultural formations; but they seem to exist in every period of cultural development. This talk explains the mechanisms of how dominating cultural biases become “paradigms” in order to rule temporarily over the academic and political correctness of their times; and how and to which extent the one-sided “paradigm fetishism” of the epoch of “postmodernity” is currently coming at its end, with new, more integrative and integral blueprints arising that are in their majority trying to balance the prevailing “paradigmatic” nominalism with new, empirical forms of neo-essentialism and neo-substantialism. Specifically, integral approaches try to create a paradigm for our time that connects deconstructivism and substantialism (realism).

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