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Episteme

 

Explanations > Critical Theory > Episteme

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

In The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, Foucault identified how all periods in history are based not on absolute truth but unspoken assumptions of what is right and real.

These founding ideas, or epistemes, form unspoken truths on which all discourse is based.

Epistemes tend to change occasionally and radically.

Discussion

Foucault's episteme is very similar to Thomas Kuhn's idea of unchallengeable paradigms that dominate science at any one time. Kuhn noted that most 'normal science' was conducted under the assumption of a given paradigm, and that research was based on filling in small gaps. When a paradigm cannot account for new discoveries, and explanations become more and more tortured, then eventually a new paradigm emerges that explains experiences and evidence more effectively.

See also

Michel Foucault

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