Reductionist Theory Of Complexity

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The theory of complexity provides theoretical basis for the structuring and preparing of a foresight activity. This premise is supported by a number of researchers, who long argued that the increasing complexity makes it especially necessary to pursue long range planning (Rohrbeck and Bade, 2012; Jain, 1984; LoPresti, 1996; Samet, 2011). Scholars agree that human interactions create complexity (Stacey, 2001; Macmillan 2009; Marion 2008; Stenvall & Laitinen 2012). Complexity emerges as societal interactions result from a ‘bottom-up’ approach. According to Epstein & Axtell (1996), social processes are only complex when each of their sub-processes cannot first be neatly decomposable into separate sub-processes, such as economic, demographic,…show more content…
Reductionism is strongly associated with causality and in the reductionist framework any phenomena can be explained wholly through different “levels” of explanation, with higher levels reducible, if needed, to lower levels. On the fundamental level of the reductionist perspective, every item that exists is a sum item, and the emergent phenomenon does not exist principally, but merely being a description of a system (Silberstein and McGeever, 1999). Therefore the theory of complexity offers a more nuanced view that the whole (system) will have features that some of the parts do not have. From the complexity perspective, if emergent behaviours or emergent phenomena are the result of a bottom-up process of change, they cannot be explained purely in terms of the behaviour of the agents. In other words, they cannot be reduced to the behaviour of the agents. Complexity research stresses the need to identify patterns in these behaviours that might add to a more holistic understanding of the particular…show more content…
This includes creating awareness on dangers or opportunities ahead, motivating people to do certain things, forcing people to innovate, encouraging people to change and adjust, galvanizing people to collective social action, paralyzing people with fear, empowering people, marginalizing people, or telling people that their cultures and belief systems are important or less so. Notably, foresight processes are not just based on an extrapolation of existing patterns, but rather a recognition that the future is uncertain and the marked possibility or probability of seriously disruptive events. Therefore grounded on the theory of complexity, the goal of foresight is not merely to prepare for the future, rather, to make every effort to shape and create the future. This type of situational awareness in foresight allows the planners to investigate and improve the interactions between people and the broader decision environment. Thus, humans play a significant role in adapting and responding to unexpected or unknown situations in addition to recognized situations. The foresight processes and tools facilitate people in their sense making processes, especially in optimally promoting creative problem solving, adaptability and

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