Well, I had a

June 18, 2003


Well, I had a decent second wind. I decided that since I have committed myself to a Kuhnian paradigm I might as well foreground my theory. Normally I like to hide my theory, the way it structures the argument is visible and I put in some footnotes to it, but I do not normally refer to theory in my body text. For now, I am talking about Thomas Kuhn and paradigms and Anthony Wallace and mazeways and the republican historians and ideology.

My basic argument in this chapter is that people lost their mazeway when benevolent organizations implode in the 1830s. They struggled for new ways of making sense of the world until, by the mid 1840s, all the old patterns were falling apart. Then people combined Charles Hodge's notion of unity in the spirit with the old word "evangelical" and created a new way to make sense of the world.

The argument requires a crisis before the new paradigm can come. I start the crisis with the breakdown of benevolent organizations. I strengthen the crisis with the other changes. What I have to make clear, I now realize, in the first 30 pages, is that the collapse of benevolence is like the start of a snowball. It opens some mental space for new paradigms, the new paradigms then follow on their internal logic and their internal narratives until they create the full-blown crisis. So rather than a breakdown in 1835, ten years of mental chaos, and a new paradigm in 1845 it is a ball that starts rolling in 1835, rolls for 10 years getting bigger and bigger, and finally in 1845 it goes off the cliff. Hmm, I need to work on that metaphor.

Tired and rammie. I want to go to bed; I am afraid that I could not sleep. I have pretty much shut down - that paragraph of random thoughts above was my last good idea of the night. I need my sleep.

And so to bed.

Posted by Red Ted at June 18, 2003 11:03 AM | TrackBack