This chapter examines the historical context of anthropological ideas and also examines the contested nature of anthropology itself. It considers anthropology's traditional claims to be a science, the critiques that have been offered of such claims in some decades, and the implications of those critiques for how the author understands society. A paradigm is a set of dominant beliefs within a field that establishes standards of scientific investigation. It is obvious that this view of the history of science differs sharply from the empiricist view that science progresses with increasing precision and accuracy of knowledge. The notion of paradigmatic science is also troubling for some philosophers of science. In economics, there are two major rival paradigms: those of neo-classical economics, which originated in the work of Adam Smith, and those of political economy, which originated in the work of Karl Marx. Thomas Kuhn's point is that contrary evidence is a necessary condition for a paradigm to be overturned.