, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 681-686
Date: 09 Dec 2012

Philosophy and Complexity

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The development of contemporary science has focused the attention of both scientists and philosophers on the problem of complexity. If science ultimately aims to propose explanations, predictions, types of analysis and modeling, and even to indicate ways to solve some problems of our world, complexity cannot be neglected and underestimated (cf. Heylighen et al. 1999 and Gershenson et al. 2007).

It is true that there is no consensual and univocal definition of the notion of complexity, and that we find it very often used in vague and loose ways, but it is possible to try to understand better its meaning if we consider the historical–theoretical context where that notion first emerged in the contemporary philosophy of science.

We usually consider something complex when we feel that it is not easily analyzable, understandable, explainable and/or predictable in the way that we were used to do it—that is, using the procedures, models or methodologies that we have at our disposal. Now, if we l ...