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1 Sources of Complexity in Human Systems

By Lucio Biggiero


Complex is a special attribute we can give to many kinds of systems. In a broad sense, it can be taken as synonym of unpredictable. Human systems are affected by several sources of complexity, belonging to three classes: logical, gnosiological and computational, in order of descending restrictivity. Systems belonging to first class are not predictable at all, those belonging to the second class are predictable only through an infinite computational capacity, and those belonging to the third class are predictable only through a trans-computational capacity. Using (also) a dialectical criterion of demarcation, we can distinguish a precise and useful meaning of the word "complexity",different from that of "difficulty". In first class (logical complexity) are two sources of complexity: the pure logical complexity, directly deriving from self-reference and Gödel incompleteness theorems, and the relational complexity, resulting in a sort of indeterminacy principle occurring in social systems. In the second class (gnosiological complexity) are four sources of complexity: pure gnosiological complexity, which consists in the variety of possible perceptions; the evolutionary complexity, which derives from the genuine notion of evolution; the semiotic complexity

Topics: SEMIOTICS) *I acknowledge D
Year: 1998
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