RESTRICTED COMPLEXITY, GENERAL COMPLEXITY*
CNRS Emeritus Director
Centre d’Etudes Transdisciplinaires. Sociologie, Anthropologie, Histoire
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales
Why has the problematic of complexity appeared so late? And why would it be justified?
1. The three principles of the rejection of complexity by ‘classical science’
Classical science rejected complexity in virtue of three fundamental explanatory principles:
- The principle of universal determinism, illustrated by Laplace’s Daemon, capable, thanks to his intelligence and extremely developed senses, of not only knowing all past events, but also of predicting all events in the future.
- The principle of reduction, that consists in knowing any composite from only the knowledge of its basic constituting elements.
- The principle of disjunction, that consists in isolating and separating cognitive difficulties from one another, leading to the separation between disciplines, which have become hermetic from each other.