The need for synthesis in nursing knowledge development has been attested to by many authors. It is consistent with nursing's holistic focus and is the mark of a mature discipline. This paper examines two approaches to synthesis: the use of multiple paradigms and the possible emergence of a new paradigm based on chaos theory. It argues that in their current form both approaches have flaws and neither achieves synthesis as it is here defined. However, both may make significant contributions to the development of nursing knowledge.