Complexity and the human sciences:beyond reductionism and relativism?
8 December 2011
Colloquium hosted by the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study: “Complexity: The Philosophical and Human Legacy of Paul Cilliers”
Iwould like to start this talk with two quotes that illustrate the ten-sion that constitutes the philosophical terrain onto which Iwill be wadingtoday.The goal of science is to make the wonderful and complex un-derstandable and simple—but not less wonderful.—Herb Si-mon,
Sciences of the Artiﬁcial
.That which is complex cannot be pinned down.To pin it downis to lose it.—Annemarie Mol and John Law,
.We are faced with a fundamental problem for any science of complexity.To render the complex world understandable it is necessary to simplify it,
This is a shortened version of a paper with the same title written under the supervisionof Paul Cilliers.
Centre for Social Science Research,University of Cape Town.