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Science, historicity and complexity

Giuseppe Gembillo

pp. 217-229

In this contribution the author intends to reconstruct Evandro Agazzi's reflections on the development of contemporary science after the elaboration of the Theory of Systems and the emergence of the perspective of Complexity. Reflections that convinced him that Reality is historical and that, in order to understand it, an interdisciplinary approach and a new definition of Science are needed. As is well known, classical science and its language were incompatible with historicity; Galilei and Descartes claimed to discover the eternal laws that characterize the mind of God, the ontological structure of Nature and the "form" of our intellect; up to Fourier , Darwin and Mach the objectivity, universality and eternity of scientific laws represented a metaphysical assumption that quickly become an undisputed dogma. In 1883, the same year in which Wilhelm Dilthey was still opposing "Sciences of Nature" and "Sciences of the Spirit", Ernst Mach published Mechanics Exposed in its Historical-critical Development. In his work, summarizing the results emerging from thermodynamics, electromagnetism and evolutionism, Mach inserted historicity into science using history not only as a reconstruction of the event-science but also as the only way for its theoretical comprehension. By so doing, Mach aroused endless debates involving several non specialized scholars, including, for example, Lenin , who understood very well that the crisis of scientific determinism initiated by Mach would eventually involve "objectivity" and the process of realization of Marxism, and reacted consequently. What that followed has strongly affected the Italian scientific and philosophical debate, marking indefinitely its physiognomy.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-16369-7_16

Full citation:

Gembillo, G. (2015)., Science, historicity and complexity, in M. Alai, M. Buzzoni & G. Tarozzi (eds.), Science between truth and ethical responsibility, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 217-229.

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