The need for this to happen, at least for science, was apparently first
recognized by Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716).
The idea that formal logic could be the underlying formalism for all human
linguistic construction was the basis for Whitehead and Russell's
Principia Mathematica. Unfortunately the scientific community which,
initially, accepted the results of their study, was diverted by Godel's
proof that no formal language is totally contained.
I call that proof a "trusel"; i.e., something that is true but largely
irrelevant or even harmful. The utility of Godel's proof, in practical
life, is about the same as trying to use all of the thousands of computed
digits of pi in order to compute the area encompassed by a circle.
Today, we find that people are beginning to study complexity. There are
basically four competing formalisms that promoters of viewpoints towards
complexity are using (knowingly or unknowingly). Three of these share a
common point of view towards complexity: COMPLEXITY IS A PROPERTY OF WHAT
IS BEING OBSERVED BY AN OBSERVER.
The three groups that profess that view, and which promote ideas about
complexity that correspond to three underlying formalisms are:
o SYSTEMS DYNAMICS, the underlying formalism being ordinary, linear
differential equations
o CHAOS THEORY, the underlying formalism being ordinary, nonlinear
differential equations
o ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS THEORY, the underlying formalism being partial
differential equations of the type that describe gaseous diffusion
Since about 1970, virtually all who promote one or more of these
formalisms have consistently ignored the requirement of providing some
evidence to show that the behavior of these formalisms is truly found in
society in significant measure, to justify there use of the analogies
which they derive from these formalisms to discuss complexity.
The remaining, fourth school of thought, is the one that I have been
working on for almost 30 years. With this school, the Peircean view of
complexity is:
COMPLEXITY IS IN THE MIND OF THE OBSERVER, WHO WOULD PREFER TO PASS IT OFF
ON WHAT IS BEING OBSERVED, RATHER THAN SEE IT AS A HUMAN DEFECT, TRACEABLE
TO HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY.
With this latter point of view, the underlying formalism for getting out
of the difficulties brought about by complexity is formal logic--the same
formalism that underlies the other three--and which is, therefore, much
more fundamental than those others.
With this point of view, the attack on complexity demands attention to
learning--precisely the interest of the LO group--which can scarcely
derive much value from taking projections based on the other approaches to
complexity; since the underlying logic formalisms are consistently ignored
or masked by proponents of those points of view.
John N. Warfield
Johnwfield@aol.com
--Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>