CFP: Paradigm Shifts, The Nature of Change and the Place of Hope

1st Global Conference, Paradigm Shifts: The Nature of Change and the Place of Hope, Sunday 22nd May – Tuesday 24th May 2010, Warsaw, Poland

This is a new inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary project about the nature of Change. Papers are invited from theorists and practitioners on how significant change occurs or has occurred in their discipline, how that change affects or has affected theory and practice, and what part, if any, hope plays or has played in that process of change.  Thinkers and practitioners across a wide range of disciplines have become aware of Kuhn’s concept of “paradigm shifts”, which explains how science operates for long periods without any fundamental change, within a “paradigm”. For Kuhn, change occurs when anomalies increasingly build up, and eventually a new theory is required that can incorporate those anomalies. With the momentum of a revolution, the new paradigm ousts the old, and establishes itself not through objective, rational superiority but through a leap of faith by the scientific community. Kuhn’s is not, of course, the only way of explaining change. For Popper, change occurs not by establishing “truths” but by dispelling errors. Others envisage science as conservative, rather than critical, and change as evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Most disciplines have historically had to cope with fundamental changes in the ideas or theories central to that discipline.  Practitioners have to cope with the consequences of these changes, and amend their practice in the light of ‘new’ or ‘re-configured knowledge. The consequences of such profound changes in thought and practice affect all of us, because our social, political and economic habits are altered as a result. In an everyday example, parents who have a child twenty years, say, after their first, will find that the instruction they are given by the “experts”, based on “knowledge” differs widely from that given to them twenty years previously. Change is a dynamic concept and produces dynamic responses. Some resist change, and cling to the old ways. Some embrace it uncritically. Some attempt, individually or collectively, to evaluate the ‘new’ knowledge – as in, for example, the current state of flux in thought about climate change.

Papers are invited from those working in the history of ideas, philosophy of science, law, natural and human sciences and all disciplines which have undergone change. Papers are welcomed from practitioners who have monitored, reflected on or critically evaluated change and its effects in social, economic and political contexts. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 26th November 2010. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 1st April 2011. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order: a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract E-mails should be entitled: Paradigm Shift Abstract Submission.
Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.
Organising Chairs:
Diana Medlicott, Independent Scholar, London, United Kingdom, E-mail:
Rob Fisher, Network Founder and Leader, Inter-Disciplinary.Net, Freeland, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, E-mail:
   The conference is part of the Critical Issues programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s).
   For further details about the project please visit:
   For further details about the conference please visit:

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