The Paradigm of Complexity in Sociology: Epistemological and Methodological Implications



This article seeks to present a unified frame of what we might call a “paradigm of complexity” from the definition of Thomas S. Kuhn, i.e., as a paradigm that incorporates both a worldview and models of scientific realizations. This dual nature of the paradigm of complexity is expressed by Edgar Morin with the distinction drawn between a more epistemological “general complexity” (complex thinking, second order cybernetics, autopoiesis, dissipative structures, etc.) and a more methodological “restricted complexity” (complex adaptive systems, multi-agents systems, cellular automata, etc.). We pose the respective limitations of both approaches and the need for their integration into a common paradigm of complexity that incorporates inseparably philosophy and science. In the second part of our article we study the implications of the paradigm of complexity in sociology. We propose, as examples, a number of approaches to the social, both epistemological and methodological, from the perspective of the “general complexity” and from the perspective of the “restricted complexity”.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology: Methodology and TheoryComplutense University of MadridMadridSpain

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