This paper deals with the possibility of applying Complexity and Chaos Theory to Social Sciences. There are many theorists in the field of the Physical Sciences who share Ruelle’s thesis that it is more controversial to use nonlinear dynamical system theory in the field of the Social Sciences. This is not a theoretical difficulty. No doubt even in non-physical systems we observe complex time evolutions and chaotic processes, in other words evolutions so unstable and discontinuous that auto-organizational processes no longer work ending up in chaos. According to Ruelle, the real problem arises when one shifts from the level of “scientific philosophy” to the domain of “quantitative science”. Even though the time evolution of social systems may be as discontinuous and chaotic as physical ones, they cannot be analyzed in the same manner. The reasons for this have been duly presented, discussed and reviewed. Ruelle’s main objection, the intrinsic impossibility of the Social Sciences to achieve basic equation or models of deterministic evolution “really convincing”, cannot be accepted in its general absoluteness. Proof of this is the fact that in the soft Sciences we often find the successful application of the logistic model. Outside the physical sciences, this well-known non-linear model is the rule and not the exception (May, 1976). Contrary to Ruelle’s assertion, the application of complexity and chaos theory in the social sciences is a real possibility. As a result, this paper discusses the implications of complexity and chaos theory for social science research

Complexity and chaos Theory in Social sciences. Scientific philosophy or quantitative science?

CONDORELLI, Rosalia
2013

Abstract

This paper deals with the possibility of applying Complexity and Chaos Theory to Social Sciences. There are many theorists in the field of the Physical Sciences who share Ruelle’s thesis that it is more controversial to use nonlinear dynamical system theory in the field of the Social Sciences. This is not a theoretical difficulty. No doubt even in non-physical systems we observe complex time evolutions and chaotic processes, in other words evolutions so unstable and discontinuous that auto-organizational processes no longer work ending up in chaos. According to Ruelle, the real problem arises when one shifts from the level of “scientific philosophy” to the domain of “quantitative science”. Even though the time evolution of social systems may be as discontinuous and chaotic as physical ones, they cannot be analyzed in the same manner. The reasons for this have been duly presented, discussed and reviewed. Ruelle’s main objection, the intrinsic impossibility of the Social Sciences to achieve basic equation or models of deterministic evolution “really convincing”, cannot be accepted in its general absoluteness. Proof of this is the fact that in the soft Sciences we often find the successful application of the logistic model. Outside the physical sciences, this well-known non-linear model is the rule and not the exception (May, 1976). Contrary to Ruelle’s assertion, the application of complexity and chaos theory in the social sciences is a real possibility. As a result, this paper discusses the implications of complexity and chaos theory for social science research
978-1-62808-001-8
complexity and chaos theory; nonlinear dynamical social systems; Complexity theory and social sciences
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/68776
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