Determinism, Holism, and Complexity

  • Vieri Benci
  • Paola Cerrai
  • Paolo Freguglia
  • Giorgio Israel
  • Claudio Pellegrini

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Physics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Armando Bazzani, Paolo Freguglia, Leone Fronzoni, Giorgio Turchetti
      Pages 27-39
    3. Marcello Cini
      Pages 53-61
    4. Gianfausto Dell’Antonio, Rodolfo Figari, Alessandro Teta
      Pages 63-76
    5. Laura Galeotti, Giulia Menconi, Leone Fronzoni
      Pages 87-94
    6. Bruno Giorgini, Enrico Lunedei, Matteo Ciccotti
      Pages 95-104
    7. Antonio Lepschy
      Pages 105-116
    8. Giorgio Turchetti
      Pages 141-150
  3. Biology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 151-151
    2. Vincenzo Capasso
      Pages 153-169
    3. Santi Chillemi, Michele Barbi, Angelo Di Garbo
      Pages 181-190
    4. Giuseppe Pulina, Corrado Di Mauro, Niccolò Macciotta, Aldo Cappio-Borlino
      Pages 245-255
    5. Martino Rizzotti
      Pages 257-272
    6. Giovanni Santangelo, Giampaolo Magagnini
      Pages 273-282
    7. Francesco Santini
      Pages 283-292
    8. Silvano Traverso
      Pages 305-309
  4. History and Philosophy of Sciences

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 311-311
    2. Paolo Casini
      Pages 313-325
    3. Elena Gagliasso
      Pages 339-348
    4. Pietro Omodeo
      Pages 359-378
    5. Silvana Procacci
      Pages 379-386
    6. Tito M. Tonietti
      Pages 387-398
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 399-402

About this book


Determinism, holism and complexity: three epistemological attitudes that have easily identifiable historical origins and developments. Galileo believed that it was necessary to "prune the impediments" to extract the mathematical essence of physical phenomena, to identify the math­ ematical structures representing the underlying laws. This Galilean method was the key element in the development of Physics, with its extraordinary successes. Nevertheless the method was later criticized because it led to a view of nature as essentially "simple and orderly", and thus by choosing not to investigate several charac­ teristics considered as an "impediment", several essential aspects of the phenomenon under investigation might be left out. The Galilean point of view also contains an acknowledgement of the central role played by the causal nexus among phenomena. The mechanistic-deterministic de­ scription of reality - for instance, a la Laplace - although acknowledging that it is not possible to predict phenomena exactly owing to unavoid­ able measurement error, is based on the recognition of the their causal nature, even in an ontological sense. Consequently, deterministic predic­ tion became the methodological fulcrum of mathematical physics. But although mechanistic determinism has had and, in many cases, still has, considerable success in Physics, in other branches of science this situa­ tion is much less favourable.


Experiment development ecosystem entropy evolution organization

Editors and affiliations

  • Vieri Benci
    • 1
  • Paola Cerrai
    • 2
  • Paolo Freguglia
    • 3
    • 6
  • Giorgio Israel
    • 4
  • Claudio Pellegrini
    • 5
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Matematica Applicata “U. Dini”Università di PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.University of PisaPisaItaly
  3. 3.University of L’AquilaL’AquilaItaly
  4. 4.University of Rome “La Sapienza”RomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  6. 6.Dipartimento di Matematica Pura ed ApplicataUniversità degli Studi dell’Aquila and Domus GalilaeanaPisaItaly

Bibliographic information