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    Global Brain Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels

    Complexity and Philosophy

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    The science of complexity is based on a new way of thinking that stands in sharp contrast to the philosophy underlying Newtonian science, which is based on reductionism, determinism, and objective knowledge. This paper reviews the historical development of this new world view, focusing on its philosophical foundations. Determinism was challenged by quantum mechanics and chaos theory. Systems theory replaced reductionism by a scientifically based holism. Cybernetics and postmodern social science showed that knowledge is intrinsically subjective. These developments are being integrated under the header of "complexity science". Its central paradigm is the multi-agent system. Agents are intrinsically subjective and uncertain about their environment and future, but out of their local interactions, a global organization emerges. Although different philosophers, and in particular the postmodernists, have voiced similar ideas, the paradigm of complexity still needs to be fully assimilated by philosophy. This will throw a new light on old philosophical issues such as relativism, ethics and the role of the subject.

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    Description

    Title : Complexity and Philosophy
    Author(s) : Francis Heylighen, Paul Cilliers, Carlos Gershenson
    Abstract : The science of complexity is based on a new way of thinking that stands in sharp contrast to the philosophy underlying Newtonian science, which is based on reductionism, determinism, and objective knowledge. This paper reviews the historical development of this new world view, focusing on its philosophical foundations. Determinism was challenged by quantum mechanics and chaos theory. Systems theory replaced reductionism by a scientifically based holism. Cybernetics and postmodern social science showed that knowledge is intrinsically subjective. These developments are being integrated under the header of "complexity science". Its central paradigm is the multi-agent system. Agents are intrinsically subjective and uncertain about their environment and future, but out of their local interactions, a global organization emerges. Although different philosophers, and in particular the postmodernists, have voiced similar ideas, the paradigm of complexity still needs to be fully assimilated by philosophy. This will throw a new light on old philosophical issues such as relativism, ethics and the role of the subject.
    Subject : unspecified
    Area : Other
    Language : English
    Year : 2006

    Affiliations Global Brain Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels
    Editors : Jan Bogg, Robert Geyer
    Journal : in Bogg J and Geyer R Eds Complexity Science and Society Radclif
    Volume : 30
    Publisher : Radcliffe Publishing
    Pages : 117 – 134
    Url : http://www.citebase.org/abstract?id=oai:arXiv.org:cs/0604072

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    Francis's Peer Evaluation activity

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