Theories are developed to explain and predict observed behaviors. As exceptions are encountered, theories must adjust to encompass the new situation. Scientific historian Thomas Kuhn states:
that is what fundamental novelties of fact and theory do. Produced inadvertently by a game played under one set of rules, their assimilation requires the elaboration of another set. 13
In the case of literary theory, hypertext can be viewed as such an anomaly. The well known hypertext theorist, George Landow, has suggested that there are three challenges that hypertext presents to literary theory:
In seeking to grasp how works change in the context of different informational regimes, we must unravel the relations between information technologies, past and present, and cultural assumptions, including our conceptions of literature, theory, self, power, and property.
Hypertext and other forms of the digital word pose (problems) for theory deriv(ing) from the fact that hypertext readers, who choose their own paths, each read different texts, and, in some cases, can never read all of the available text.
In the nonreproducible text, critics find themselves in a situation analogous to the pre-print world, in which scribal drift insured that one could never be sure that another reader had read precisely the same text. 14
I propose that the literary theory of paralogic hermeneutics, as described by Thomas Kent, addresses each of these challenges. In fact, without having ever mentioned hypertext per se, paralogic hermeneutics is able to predict the communicative conditions arising from the use of this new technology. This can be seen clearly in the way paralogic hermeneutics informs Landow's second challenge, which places the "control" of the text with the reader, and the third challenge, which addresses the unpredictability of hypertextual documents.