After getting home tonight, there was a message on the answering machine informing me that a book I had placed on reserve could be picked up. The book is Paradigms Lost (it’s about mathematics and physics–I can’t say much else because I haven’t read the book yet…). So how did the librarian pronounce the title? Para-jim.
I might sound snooty but someone who works in a library should be able to pronounce the word “paradigm”. I used to make fun of all of the business and political types who misused the phrase “paradigm shift”. The phrase was used by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to describe a sociological process in science. Essentially, an older theory (or “paradigm”) is confronted with an overwhelming mass of contradictory data and is supplanted by a new theory (the “paradigm shift”). One example of this is the replacement of Newtonian physics by quantum mechanics. A paradigm shift does not mean, “We changed our minds.” Then again, some of the dopes who twisted paradigm shift also ‘reinterpreted’ one of Rabbi Hillel’s sayings from one of personal responsibility to “be a greedy bastard.”
Maybe I should just be thankful that some people can actually pronounce paradigm.