Kuhn proposed, knowledge within any discipline depends on a communally shared commitment to a paradigm.
A paradigm roughly consists of:
- an array of assumptions about what exists (ontology)
- how it may be known (epistemology)
- how scientific work ‘ought’ to proceed (ethics).
- a pattern of activities held to be consistent with these assumptions.
Two conclusions follow from these assertions:
- A commitment to a paradigm must precede the generation of knowledge. Thus it is the commitment to an a priori set of assumptions and practices that makes knowledge possible. In effect, different paradigms will create different scientific realities, and there is no means of standing outside a paradigm of some kind to adjudicate among them.
Truth exists only within a paradigm.
- Individual minds are not the source of knowledge, but communities. Individual knowledge, hence, is not a private achievement but owes its origins to community participation.
Source: Gergen & Gergen. (Eds.). (2003). Social construction: A reader. Sage.