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Start of the fourth round of FRIAS Lunch Lectures in the winter term 2015/16 on the topic of “Paradigm Shifts in Science”

Just like societies and institutions, science and research are subject to constant change. How have fundamental assumptions, definitions and methods of scientific research changed in the course of the last 50 years? The upcoming (fourth) FRIAS Lunch Lecture series will deal with this issue, beginning on October 22, 2015. Every second Thursday, these lectures will take place in lecture hall HS 1015 (KG 1) from 12:15 – 1:00 p.m. Fellows at FRIAS will give a short lecture on the topic of paradigm shifts in their respective discipline, followed by a discussion with the students.

A paradigm, according to the historian of science Thomas Kuhn, is a set of practices that defines a scientific discipline at any particular period of time. For him, a paradigm is not constituted primarily by theory, but defined by "universally recognized scientific achievements that, for a time, provide model problems and solutions for a community of practitioners” (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 1962). This involves such key issues of scientific research as defining the object or problem of investigation, the questions to be asked, predictions to be tested, methods to be used, results to be interpreted, etc. Furthermore, according to Kuhn, all sciences have been, and continue to be, subject to fundamental changes and re-evaluations, resulting in paradigm shifts which may ultimately trigger scientific revolutions.

In the upcoming Lunch Lecture series, FRIAS Fellows from the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural and life sciences will address questions including the following: Which paradigm shift(s) has the relevant discipline experienced in the course of past 50 years? What was their nature, which basic assumptions did/do they challenge, which effects did/do they have? To what extent has technological progress, notably the digital revolution, contributed to that? Are paradigm shifts in the humanities and social sciences of a different nature than in the natural and life sciences? Can paradigm shifts involve scientific progress? To what extent can new paradigms incorporate elements of old paradigms? These and other questions will be addressed in 25-30 minute lectures followed by, on average, 10-15 minute discussions. The aim of this particular lecture series is to offer to both undergraduate and graduate students and, essentially, to everyone who happens to be interested a first-hand account of the disciplines and research expertise currently represented by  the Junior and Senior Fellows working at FRIAS.

The first lecture will be given by Prof. Dr. Bernd Kortmann, FRIAS Director and Professor for Linguistics, together with Prof. Dr. Peter Mühlhäusler, Professor for Linguistics at the University of Adelaide, with a lecture on “Paradigm shifts in Linguistics”.

Further information on the upcoming lectures

 

10/2015