@INET Berlin: Paradigm Regained

The title of the conference, “Paradigm Lost,” is an obvious combination of two references.

“Paradigm” refers to Thomas Kuhn’s use of the term, as the dominant and imposing mode of thinking of a particular group of scientists. “Lost” refers to John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Based on Kuhn, the title of the conference says: Too many anomalies have built up, and we’re looking for the new paradigm that will replace the old. Fine, and very true. The reference to Milton is more complicated, however. Is the paradigm that we lost a paradisiacal world we (should) seek to regain? By relying on Milton, the title suggests a romantic longing for an innonence that we lost during adolescence and that we forever struggle to regain during the rest of our lives. But as with Milton’s Paradise, the purpose of INET cannot and should not be to regain the perfect paradigm of our intelectual youths. Romanticism is of little use when the only possible way is forward - as the Saturday morning session on climate change shows more than anything.

Ps: Regarding romanticism, we’re staying in Berlin’s heavily historic Adlon Hotel that among many others offers a 1920s style breakfast for two- for as little as €680.

Ps2: An alternative explanation is that the title of the conference simply is our Playground in different words.

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