The aim of this paper is to discuss the suitability of an interdisciplinary epistemological view, connecting the Social and the Natural/Formal sciences, to investigate issues in the domain of Complex Systems Science. Currently, even though a major challenge of this science is to develop inter- and transdisciplinary methods to deal with scientific problems, strong dichotomies nonetheless remain in the ways of approaching matters in the areas of Human and Natural/Formal Sciences. We argue that an inter/trans-disciplinary epistemological view of complexity, involving concepts such as information, self-organization, order/disorder, emergence, qualitative modeling, and ecology of knowledges, amongst others, may provide a fertile bridge between the current dichotomist tendencies. The development of this epistemological view might afford mutual cooperation between the so-called ‘hard? and ‘soft? sciences, helping, for example, with the qualitative and quantitative study of the organizing dynamics of social relations. This bridge, in turn, may shed light on research in the Formal/Natural sciences, helping scientists to analyze possible pragmatic, political, and ethical consequences of the development of these sciences in contemporary and future society. An illustration of this inter/trans-disciplinary epistemological view is provided with an analysis of the role played by the dynamics of differences in self-organizing complex systems, such as socio-cultural networks involving processes of emergence on several different scales.
Epistemology of integrative and predictive sciences e-session
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