Linking Complexity and Simplicity

  • Steen LeleurEmail author
Part of the Decision Engineering book series (DECENGIN)


This chapter on “Linking complexity and simplicity” seeks basic ways of seeing and understanding by introducing and interpreting two basic epistemic lenses we can reflect upon and apply. To judge the relevance of the proposed systemic planning (SP) approach it is necessary to be explicit about how knowledge and insight can be gained. The term paradigm is used for a specific type of cognition and related research designs that have established themselves as being a sound approach—or more technically: to be valid and constitute a relevant approach in the specific context. For illuminating the basic approach behind systemic planning the French science theorist and sociologist Edgar Morin is called upon. Attention is first given to his Simplicity paradigm which may well be said to represent the type of education and training that economists and engineers face in their university years. Parallel to this, with the Simplicity paradigm seen collectively as a particular type of epistemic lens, Morin has also formulated a Complexity paradigm concerning an alternative way of knowledge gathering and creation; also this paradigm can be seen to represent a particular epistemic lens. In systemic planning this Complexity paradigm functions as a complement to the Simplicity paradigm.


Uncertainty Principle Decision Space Decision Situation Complexity Thinking Atomic Phenomenon 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of TransportTechnical University of DenmarkKgs. LyngbyDenmark

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