Volume 37, 1998
Philosophy of Science
Cognitive Traditions and Communities in Technological Change
Many efforts have been made to discover some paradigm-like changes in mathematics, the social sciences, arts, history, etc. Gary Gutting forcefully criticizes the tendency of over-constraining the original conception that mostly led to insignificant analogies. But some applications may fall between correct isomorphic utilization and insignificant analogizing. The paradigm conception of technological change emerged in the early 1980's. This paper shows how fruitful the analogy has been for developing the idea of technological 'paradigms.' But a technological paradigm shows decisive differences which concern the values (which are not only cognitive ones) of technologies, the hierarchical systemic communities, the partly different nature of crises (through 'presumptive anomalies,' by Constant), and the necessarily integrated nature of technological knowledge leading to successful artifacts linked to goal-oriented research. Technological-paradigms-thinking became an established part of evolutionary economics also. According to this, paradigms rival conceptions that show further changes in comparison to the original Kuhnian approach. I conclude by discussing the nature of scientific change from the viewpoint of technological paradigms.