Encountering Complexity: In Need For A Self-Reflecting (Pre)Epistemology

In Avshalom C. Elitzur, Metod Saniga & Rosolino Buccheri (eds.), Endophysics, Time, Quantum and the Subjective. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing. pp. 547-566 (2007)
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We have recently started to understand that fundamental aspects of complex systems such as emergence, the measurement problem, inherent uncertainty, complex causality in connection with unpredictable determinism, time­irreversibility and non­locality all highlight the observer's participatory role in determining their workings. In addition, the principle of 'limited universality' in complex systems, which prompts us to search for the appropriate 'level of description in which unification and universality can be expected', looks like a version of Bohr's 'complementarity principle'. It is more or less certain that the different levels of description possible of a complex whole ­­ actually partial objectifications ­­ are projected on to and even redefine its constituent parts. Thus it is interesting that these fundamental complexity issues don't just bear a formal resemblance to, but reveal a profound connection with, quantum mechanics. Indeed, they point to a common origin on a deeper level of description.

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Vasileios Basios
Université Libre de Bruxelles


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