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Evolution of Complex Systems

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  1. Evolution of Complex Systems Lecture 12: The Evolution of Science Peter Andras / Bruce Charlton peter.andras@ncl.ac.uk bruce.charlton@ncl.ac.uk

  2. Objectives • Science as a system • Origins of science • Memory, information subsystem and identity • Specialisation and expansion • Interpenetration and expansion • Competition and selection • Emerging sciences

  3. Society • System of human communications • Spoken, written, electronic communications

  4. Science • System of communications about conclusions (continuations) that can be checked experimentally • Two sequence of communications that should lead to the same continuations

  5. Science and religion • Religion: system of un-common knowledge • Religion and science compete to explain perceptions of the society

  6. Science and education • Education: the specialist reproduction subsystem of the society • Science is reproduced by education  higher education

  7. Ancient science • Greeks • Romans • Chinese • Indians • Islam world

  8. Early Christian science • Middle ages • Relatively primitive

  9. Uncommon knowledge • Religion: explaining what is unexplainable in terms of common language

  10. Practical knowledge • Common knowledge about practical problems • Specialist practical knowledge  expansion • E.g., masonry, surgery

  11. Writing and uncommon knowledge • Written communications • Preservation of communications for later reference  memory • Interpretation in new context  memory processing  information subsystem

  12. Systematic uncommon knowledge • Analysing uncommon knowledge • Writing allows longer derivations • Contradictions are found and solved and the solutions are written down • Note: monotheism  simplification  expansion  elaborate uncommon knowledge

  13. Science of uncommon knowledge • Theology: analysis, interpretation and continuation of uncommon knowledge • Schools of theology: monasteries

  14. Writing and practical knowledge • Written communications about practical knowledge • Writing allows longer sequences of continuing communications • Contradictions and solutions are found

  15. Science of practical knowledge • Systematic organization of practical knowledge • E.g., ancient medicine, geometry, masonry, geography, botany textbooks • Schools of practical knowledge: ancient philosophy schools, writing schools in China

  16. The logic of science • Truth • What is true and what is not true (false) according to the rules of the systematic knowledge (early science)  identity of the science

  17. Early sciences as subsystems • Uncommon and practical systematic knowledge systems • Subsystems of the corresponding knowledge system • Defining logic (identity): scientifically true / false

  18. Education • Reproduction of the society – common knowledge base • Family education, religious education, practical knowledge education

  19. Education and theology • Formalized education of uncommon knowledge to reproduce the early science of theology • More need in case of more extended uncommon knowledge systems (e.g., those built by monotheist religions)

  20. Interpenetration: education and theology • New rules of education in conformity with the religion / theology • New system: formal education • Formal education and theology: systematic reproduction and extension of theology  university

  21. Interpenetration: formal education and practical knowledge • Similarities: written communications, analysis, testing of conclusions • Practical sciences change the contents of education (new communication rules) • Education of practical sciences: geometry, botany, geography, astrology

  22. Interpenetration: experimental validation • Practical sciences: experimental validation • Science: truth checking by experimental validation

  23. Science emerging • Boundary between practical sciences, theology, education • New system emerges: science with experimentally validated truth check

  24. Science of law • Practical law practice • Science of law • More variable than theology • Early universities

  25. Science of medicine • Practical anatomy, botany, surgery and theology • Science of medicine – experimental checks • Early universities

  26. Philosophy • Ancient schools – early philosophy • Pure theology free of religion – interfacing with practical sciences • Early universities

  27. Natural philosophy • Practical sciences (geometry, mechanics, astrology, alchemy, geography) and philosophy • Experimentally validated science • 16th – 18th century univerisities

  28. Printing • Reproduction of written text in large amount • Large scale availability of memory for science communications  expansion of the information subsystem of science = more possible to process memories of earlier scientific communications • Explosive expansion of science

  29. Subsystems of natural philosophy • Mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy • Specialist languages emerge, which define new subsystems

  30. The environment of science • Society • Science is about the society and its environment

  31. Competing sciences • Alchemy and chemistry • Astrology and astronomy • Competition: which makes better predictions and causes fewer contradictions by making false predictions • Contradictions (identity violations) cause cutting back and reduce growth

  32. Selection of sciences • Sciences which grow faster are selected by the environment • E.g., chemistry against alchemy, astronomy against astrology

  33. Various formalisms • 17th – 18th century mathematics, physics • Each school / scientist had its own formalism

  34. Uniform formalism • 19th century standardisation of mathematics formalism • Simplification and expansion • Interpenetration of mathematics and physics  uniform formalism for physics  expansion of physics

  35. Ways of expansion • Fast expansion at beginning: building the new long descriptions (sequences of continuing communications) • Slow expansion later: gap filling

  36. New subsystems • Structure imposed on communications • Institutional organisation: questioning the identity/existence – conferences, academic departments, scientific societies, journals • New subsystems emerge

  37. Interactions of systems • Interface of sciences • Change of rules • Change of boundaries • Questioning of interface systems  new interface sciences – new identity • E.g., theoretical biology

  38. Other sciences: social sciences • Social philosophy  science of the society • Branches: economics, political science, sociology, psychology (individual communications)

  39. Other sciences: humanities • Interfaces of philosophy with arts: literature, fine arts, music • Integrated older sciences: philosophy, law

  40. Other sciences: engineering • Interfaces of natural sciences (descendants of natural philosophy) and practical sciences: e.g., construction engineering, automotive engineering, mechanical engineering

  41. Medical sciences • Descendants of the science of medicine • E.g., neurology, dentistry, cardiology

  42. New sciences: computer science • Computer science: the science of describing and solving problems • Information sciences – the science of information systems

  43. Summary – 1 • Origins of science • Early sciences: early theology, early practical sciences • Theology • Law, medicine, philosophy, natural philosophy • Memory, information subsystem and identity

  44. Summary – 2 • Interpenetration and interface sciences • Branches of natural philosophy • Competition and selection of sciences • Simplification and expansion of mathematics and physics • Other sciences • New sciences

  45. Q&A – 1 • Is it true that theology was one of the early sciences ? • Is it true that early theology was a subsystem of religion ? • Is it true that the interpenetration of education by theology led to the emergence of formal education ?

  46. Q&A – 2 4. Is it true that the sciences of medicine and law emerged independently from theology ? 5. Is it true that philosophy emerged at the interface of theology and practical sciences ? 6. Is it true that natural philosophy emerged at the interface of medicine and philosophy ? 7. Is it true that astrology competed with mathematics ?

  47. Q&A – 3 8. Is it true that alchemy was out competed by chemistry because the former produced more contradictions reducing its expansion capacity ? 9. Is it true that major expansion of mathematics happened before the uniformisation of mathematical terminology ? 10. Is it true that social sciences developed as descendants of social philosophy ? 11. Is it true that computer science is a new science of problem and solution formulation ? Is it true that it can be seen as a new kind of philosophy ?