Complexity of Social Systems As Awareness of Ignorance

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Czeslaw MESJASZ, Cracow University of Economics, Poland
The first attempts to define complex entities go back to the works of Weaver (disorganized complexity and organized complexity), Simon - the Architecture of Complexity, and Ashby – the Law of Requisite Variety. In his search for the meaning of complexity, Lloyd identified 45 methods of describing complexity. A convincing picture of intricacy of the research field of complexity studies is reflected in the scheme proposed by Castelani. In other writings numerous definitions of complexity are formulated. The ideas associated with complexity drawn from mathematics, physics and natural sciences can be called ‘hard’ complexity research as an analogy with the ‘hard’ systems thinking including the ‘first order cybernetics’. The ‘soft’ complexity research, coined per analogy with ‘soft’ systems thinking and ‘second order cybernetics’, includes the qualitative ideas of complexity elaborated in other areas – cybernetics/systems thinking, social sciences and in psychology. At present, the extant interpretations of complexity of social systems seem to be inadequate to the needs of theory and practice. It especially concerns the society dominated by information overabundance which leads not only to the problems with the number of impulses produced and received but to difficulties of assigning the meaning to information. Bearing in mind the above assumptions, an attempt is made to develop a new interpretation of social systems complexity which is based upon reflexivity, intersubjectivity, interdisciplinarity and multilevel individual and interactive knowledge. Awareness and self-awareness of ignorance of the participants of an intersubjective process of negotiating the meaning of complexity constitute the point of departure of a new interpretation, and even perhaps, of a new definition of social systems complexity. The hypothesis will be proved that the new interpretation of complexity is applicable in studying the phenomena in modern society at the macro-scale - environment, macroeconomic processes and, particularly, at the micro-scale – corporate management.