Complexity, Science and the Public

Theory, Culture and Society 22 (5):113-140 (2005)
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Abstract

This article addresses complexity by selecting some of its key aspects that share a common feature: the power to change. They seem to change not only the way the world is approached by scientists, but also the way this approach, the resulting perspectives and their multiple relationships, are interpreted. These main aspects are: the challenge of measurability, with an unexpected result that escapes the gravitational field of the measurability problem; the meaning of reproducibility and the redrawn boundaries of scientific inquiry, with implications for the social sciences; the altered expectations concerning prediction, which seem to break with a glorious tradition of unquestioned technological success; and the discovery of all-embracing patterns of events that unavoidably include large events, possibly perceived as ‘crises’, which one may hope to understand and confront, rather than rule out. The resulting geography, with its new landmarks, new relationships among its elements and new means of orientation, is expected to reach the public sooner or later, even if the effect – according to complexity theory itself – cannot be foreseen in detail. All these fibres of change are considered in the context of a fresh meaning of time and of a topology dominated by network concepts.

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References found in this work

Wholeness and the Implicate Order.David Bohm - 1981 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 32 (3):303-305.
From Being to Becoming.I. Prigogine - 1982 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 33 (3):325-329.
The Place of Complexity.Nigel Thrift - 1999 - Theory, Culture and Society 16 (3):31-69.
La nouvelle alliance, Métamorphoses de la science.I. Prigogine & I. Stengers - 1980 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 170 (4):485-488.
Science as Salvation: A Modern Myth and its Meaning.Frank Palmer - 1993 - Philosophical Quarterly 43 (172):396-397.

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