Science as a Self-Organizing Meta-Information System

Four basic problems that a theory of science has to deal with concern epistemology, structure, causality, and dynamics of science. These problems deal with the relationship of induction/deduction, actors/structures, internal/external factors, and continuity/discontinuity. Traditionally they have been solved one-sidedly. Considering science as a self-organizing system allows a more integrative approach. Science is a complex, nonlinear system that is made up of two moments: scientific actors and scientific structures. Scientific self-organization operates synchronously and diachronically. Synchronous scientific self-organization is a mutual production process between scientific actors and structures. Scientific systems are self-organizing units that perform the production of theories and truths by the way of a productive, circular causal duality of scientific actors and scientific structures. Science is a dynamic system where research practices produce and reproduce structures that produce and reproduce research practices. Scientific structures are medium and outcome of scientific actions. At the action level one can find a systemic hierarchy that is made up of individual researchers, research groups, scientific communities, and the overall scientific community. Scientific structures include theories, research institutions, technologies, journals, publications, science funds; norms, values, and rules of scientific conduct. The main scientific practices can be categorized as genuinely scientific practices (innovation, dissemination, scientific interchange, funding-related activities, teaching), cultural practices (public discourse), political practices (science policy), and economic practices (action related to scientific knowledge as commodities, patents, science-industry-partnerships, sponsorship).  Science is an open system that is structurally coupled to other subsystems of society, it is neither internally, nor externally determined, its development is caused by a complex interplay of internal and external factors, it is a relatively autonomous system.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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