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CDT403 Research Methodology in Natural Sciences and Engineering Theory of Science RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGY, SOCIETY, COMPLEXITY AND INTERDISCIPLINARITY Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic School of Innovation, Design and Engineering Mälardalen University. SCIENCE, RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGY, SOCIETY, COMPLEXITY.

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CDT403 Research Methodology in Natural Sciences and Engineering Theory of Science

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    1. CDT403 Research Methodology in Natural Sciences and Engineering Theory of Science RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGY, SOCIETY, COMPLEXITY AND INTERDISCIPLINARITY Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic School of Innovation, Design and Engineering Mälardalen University


    3. SCIENCE OBJECTS DOMINATING METHOD Simple Reductionism (analysis) Logic &Mathematics Abstract objects:propositions, numbers, ... Deduction Natural Sciences Natural objects: physical bodies, fields and interactions, living organisms ... Hypothetico-deductive method Social Sciences Social objects:human individuals, groups, society, .. Hypothetico-deductive method + Hermeneutics Humanities Cultural objects: human ideas, actions and relationships, language, artefacts… Hermeneutics Complex Holism (synthesis) SCIENCE IN MICRO AND MACROCOSMOSLevels of abstraction/Levels of organization Sciences, Objects and Methods zoom in – zoom out

    4. Science Technology Object unchangeable changeable inside outside Principle of motion End knowing the general knowing the concrete Activity theoria: end in itself poiesis: end external Method abstraction modeling complexity Process conceptualizing optimizing Innovation form discovery invention Type of result law-like statements rule-like statements Time perspective long-term short-term SCIENCE, RESEARCH, TECHNOLOGY Aristotle's Distinctions between Science and Technology

    5. Research Development Science Technology SCIENCE, RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY

    6. Logic & Mathematics Natural Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, …) Social Sciences (Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, …) The Humanities (Philosophy, History,Linguistics …) CLASSICAL SCIENCES LANGUAGE BASED SCHEME Culture (Religion, Art, …) Computing

    7. SCIENCES BASED ON SEVERAL RESEARCH FIELDS – CROSS DISCIPLINARY RESEARCH Our basic scheme represents classical sciences.   Many modern sciences however are stretching over several research fields of our scheme. Computer science e.g. includes the field of AI that has its roots in mathematical logic and mathematics but uses physics, chemistry and biology and even has parts where medicine and psychology are very important. Software Engineering include both formal methods and project management. HCI, human-computer interaction combines knowledge from “hard” and “soft” sciences. Computer games border with arts.



    10. SOCIETAL ASPECTS OF SCIENCE Science has undoubtedly several important facets: - insights in foundational issues (understanding of the world) - applications (practical use) - societal aspects (impact on the society) Sciences are promoting rational and analytical discussions of the central issues of concern to scientists and other scholars, and to the public at large, both in terms of knowledge production and in practical applications.

    11. SOCIETAL ASPECTS OF SCIENCERESEARCH COMMUNITY AS INFORMATIONAL NETWORK “ .. if we consider Galileo alone in his cell muttering, ‘and yet it moves,’ with the recent meeting at Kyoto – where heads of states, lobbyists, and scientists were assembled together in the same place to discuss the Earth – we measure the difference ..” Bruno Latour

    12. SOCIETAL ASPECTS OF SCIENCE Further reading on current topics: Essays on Science and Society Science magazine

    13. POSTMODERNISM AND THE NATURE OF SCIENCE Modernism may be seen as the height of the Enlightenment's quest for an rational aesthetics, ethics, and knowledge. Postmodernism is a cultural and philosophical movement which formed in reaction to modernism. Postmodernism is concerned with how the authority of those ideals, sometimes called meta-narratives, are undermined through fragmentation and deconstruction. Meta-narratives -"grand narratives“, form of ‘universal truth'

    14. POSTMODERNISM Postmodernism attacks the primacy of ideas of universals and encourages fractured, fluid and multiple perspectives and is marked by an increasing importance in the ideas from the Sociology of knowledge.

    15. POSTMODERNISM All knowledge, scientific knowledge included, is found to be socially constructed. Being “socially constructed” implies not absolute, but relative to the humans and humanity. No (absolute) objectivity exists. From that correct observation, postmodernism draws a very far-reaching conclusion: “Science is merely one story among others.” The world we know is one that is constructed by human discourses. From the point of view of knowledge (epistemologically ), a scientific text is understood as being on a par with a literary text.

    16. SCIENCE WARS (1) In early 1996 the physicist Alan Sokal who was provoked by postmodernist derogatory attitude to science caused a controversy by publishing two controversial journal articles. The first article, Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravityappeared in the journal Social Text. It pretended to be a serious article on the implications of developments in the field of cultural studies for developments in modern physics, and vice-versa.

    17. SCIENCE WARS (2) The second article, A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies, appeared in the journal Lingua Franca just as issue of Social Text containing the first article came out. It revealed that the first article was in fact a hoax.

    18. SCIENCE WARS (3) But why did he do it? “And I'm a stodgy old scientist who believes, naively, that there exists an external world, that there exist objective truths about that world, and that my job is to discover some of them. “ Allan Sokal

    19. SCIENCE WARS (4) “To test the prevailing intellectual standards, I decided to try a modest (though admittedly uncontrolled) experiment: Would a leading North American journal of cultural studies (..) publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions? “ Allan Sokal

    20. SCIENCE WARS (5) The post modern ideas were known as Deconstructionism and Social Constructivism. The branch of sociology, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK) and Science and Technology Studies (STS) were influences by postmodern movements and had the objective of showing that the results of scientific findings did not represent objective reality, but were basically instruments of the ideology of dominant groups within society. 

    21. POSTMODERNISTANTI-SCIENTISM Post-modernism was a radical critique against science, contemporary philosophy and current understanding of rationality.  The view of science as a search for truths (or approximate truths) about the world was rejected.  According to postmodernism, the natural world has a subordinated role in the construction of scientific knowledge.   Science was just another social practice, producing ``narrations'' and ``myths'' with basically no more validity than any other myths.



    24. AN EXAMPLE OF PROGRESS - TRANSPORTS Beam me up Scotty next?

    25. SCIENCE WARS (6) Sources for further reading:

    26. WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM POSTMODERNISM? Humans always produce theories that are context-dependent and based on our (human) perspective. It is good to be aware of that context in which science operates. Society is an important factor when it comes to politics, including policies in science which provides resources for science. In a given context, by scientific methods we can reach our best knowledge, which is constantly improving If not seen as absolute, but our best common knowledge about the world, science has a very distinct position among different possible descriptions of the world.

    27. END OF SCIENCE WARS AND NEW EMERGING ALLIANCES At present, a lot of activity in cross-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinarycollaborations. Examples: Computing and Philosophy and Interdisciplines (Topics: Adaptation and Representation, Art and Cognition, Causality, Enaction (Action and perception intertwined), Issues in Coevolution of Language and Theory of Mind.)

    28. RESEARCH, COMMUNICATION AND ICT New development of collaborations between different research disciplines is enabled by the progress of technology. However, there is a problem of communication: Different knowledge fields traditionally have different languages.

    29. RESEARCH, COMMUNICATION AND ICT Sciences cover well defined domains (physics, mathematics, biology, sociology, economy…) where knowledge is produced by specific scientific communities through intense communication within a group and with not much communication with the rest of the world. However, access to knowledge have become easy and communication between sciences, arts and humanities more and more common.

    30. Cybernetics as a Language for Interdisciplinary Communication Stuart A. Umpleby The George Washington University Washington, DC

    31. How is interdisciplinary communication possible? [Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems. Cybernetics is closely related to control theory and systems theory. Both in its origins and in its evolution in the second-half of the 20th century, cybernetics is equally applicable to physical and social (that is, language-based) systems. (Wikipedia)] • We need to share a common language • Perhaps there is a common “deep structure” which is hidden by our more specialized discipline-oriented terms and theories After Stuart A. Umpleby

    32. Common processes in the external world James G. Miller’s suggests that living systems exist at seven levels: - cell, - organ, - organism, - group, - organization, - nation, - supranational organization After Stuart A. Umpleby

    33. Basic concepts In cybernetics there are three fundamental concepts: Regulation Self-organization Reflexivity After Stuart A. Umpleby

    34. Regulation Regulation is based on two elements – regulator and system being regulated Engineering examples – thermostat and heater, automatic pilot and airplane Biological examples – feeling of hunger and food in stomach, light in eye and iris opening Social system examples – manager and organization, therapist and patient After Stuart A. Umpleby

    35. The law of requisite variety Information and selection “The amount of selection that can be performed is limited by the amount of information available” Regulator and regulated “The variety in a regulator must be equal to or greater than the variety in the system being regulated” W. Ross Ashby After Stuart A. Umpleby

    36. Coping with complexity When faced with a complex situation, there are two choices • Increase the variety in the regulator: hire staff or subcontract • Reduce the variety in the system being regulated: reduce the variety one chooses to control After Stuart A. Umpleby

    37. The management of complexity • There has been a lot of discussion of complexity, as if it exists in the world • Cyberneticians prefer to speak about “the management of complexity” • Their view is that complexity is observer dependent, that the system to be regulated is defined by the observer After Stuart A. Umpleby

    38. Self-organization • Every isolated, determinate, dynamic system obeying unchanging laws will develop organisms adapted to their environments. W. Ross Ashby • Many elements within the system • Boundary conditions – open to energy (hence dynamic), – closed to information (interaction rules do not change during the period of observation) Systems and Self-organization Modelling After Stuart A. Umpleby

    39. Examples of self-organization • Physical example – chemical reactions; iron ore, coke, and oxygen heated in a blast furnace will change into steel, carbon dioxide, water vapor and slag • Biological examples – food in the stomach is transformed into usable energy and materials, species compete to yield animals adapted to their environments, insect swarms After Stuart A. Umpleby

    40. SELF-ORGANIZATION IN ARTIFACTS Self-organization resources

    41. DIGITAL VIDEO FEEDBACK AND MORPHOGENESIS Video Feedback systems tend toward either stability or chaos. While the stable attractor offers some interest in the subtleties of its decay, the unstable attractor offers an unlimited supply of endless evolving motifs and an emergent behaviour. The system can be get into chaotic emergence via camera movement (rotation and positioning). The important thing was to catch the movement of ‘catching a shape’ in a particular temporal phase to feed back into the system advancing the complexity and initiating lifelike morphogenesis.

    42. COMPLEX SYSTEMS Four Important Characteristics of Complexity: • Self-Organization • Non-Linearity • Order/Chaos Dynamic • Emergent Properties

    43. COMPLEX SYSTEMS Computer Programming approaches used for demonstrating, simulating, and analyzing Complex Systems: • Artificial Life • Genetic Algorithms • Neural Networks • Cellular Automata • Boolean Networks


    45. DOUGLAS HOFSTADTER ON SELF-REFERENCE “ Self-reference is ubiquitous. It happens every time any one says “I” or “me” or “word” or “speak” or “mouth”. It happens every time a newspaper prints a story about reporters, every time someone writes a book about writing, designs a book about book design, makes a movie about movies, or writes an article about self-reference. Many systems have the capability to represent or refer to themselves somehow, to designate themselves (or elements of themselves) within the system of their own symbolism. Whenever this happens, it is an instance of self-reference.” “My proposal [...] is to see the “I” as a hallucination perceived by a hallucination, which sounds pretty strange, or perhaps even stranger: the “I” as a hallucination hallucinated by a hallucination.” (I Am a Strange Loop, p. 293 )

    46. Self-reference (Reflexivity) • This model has traditionally been avoided and is logically difficult • Inherent in social systems where observers are also participants, in individual living organisms • Every statement reveals an observer as much as what is observed After Stuart A. Umpleby

    47. EXAMPLES OF SELF-REFERENCE:RECURSIVE ALGORITHMS This graph is based on a simple recursive algorithm. Recursion is a popular technique used to describe trees and the like, because of the self-referential nature of a tree. Self-reference can lead to undecidability (and paradoxes like set of all sets that are not members of themselves)

    48. Self-reference (Reflexivity) Observation Self-awareness After Stuart A. Umpleby

    49. Reflexivity in a social system Stuart A. Umpleby

    50. After Stuart A. Umpleby