Science as a Social Self-organizing Extended Cognitive System. Coherence and Flexibility of Scientific Explanatory Patterns
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We conceptualize science as a social cognitive embodied-extended system with a perpetual action-perception-explanatory pattern formin cycle. This cognitive cycle encompasses the natural environment. The cycle is irreducible to inner cognitive processes of scientists. Its technologically embodied-extended nature necessarily makes the cognitive cycle to be context dependent, bringing about context dependence in the explanatory part shared via language. Despite of the context-dependence of scientific practices the past decades have witnessed a large-scale diffusion of explanatory concepts, i.e. themata, coming from dynamical systems theory and statistical physics into science fields which, till then, seemed totally disconnected. This trend increases the coherence of explanatory patterns and consequently enhances and diversifies the language communication possibilities between scientific practices. The structure that emerges is one which, on the one hand, possesses explanatory stability, that is, a coherent and pluri-contextual explanatory backbone that co-relates classically independent or weakly dependent scientific fields, and on the other hand, allows context-dependent flexibility and adaptivity of explanatory patterns to specific processes it strives to understand. The picture that emerges reveals the science as a social self-organizing adaptive cognitive system.
This research was partly financed by the “University of Sts. Cyril and Methodius” program for research projects, No. 02-663/28 from 14.09.2012.
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