Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Antonovski A.Yu., Barash R.E. The Science of Society and the Concept of Complexity. On the 30th Anniversary of the Publication of Niklas Luhmanns Book Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science, 2020, Vol. 57, No. 4, pp. 171-184.



Antonovski A.Yu., Barash R.E. The Science of Society and the Concept of Complexity. On the 30th Anniversary of the Publication of Niklas Luhmanns Book Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft. Epistemology & Philosophy of Science, 2020, Vol. 57, No. 4, pp. 171-184.
ISSN 1811-833X
DOI 10.5840/eps202057469

Posted on site: 05.01.20


Abstract

This article is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the publication of Niklas Luhmanns book The Science of Society. The systemcommunicative approach to the analysis of science is reconstructed with a focus on the relation of science to its highly complex external world. The problem of complexity is posed as a key one and is considered in the context of the communicative reduction of the complexity of the external world, which science actualizes through its unique binary opposition (truth/falsehood distinction). The complexity of the world that science is facing disintegrates into two large areas. On the one hand, science processes its own external world, i.e., nature, society, the human psyche, as its object and thus fulfills a unique function, the pursuance of research. Scientific communication in this case can be integrated in the form of transdisciplinary studies. On the other hand, science has to respond to the complexity of the internal (i.e., social) external world of the communicative system of science, namely, to interfaced communicative systems of the embracing system of world society (politics, economy, religion, education, law, etc.). In the latter case, science does not fulfill a function but delivers achievements on request to the abovementioned communicative systems in exchange for resources for interdisciplinary studies, which are occasional and cannot serve for integrating scientific communication on a systematic basis. We will propose some corrections to this theory and apply it to the situation in Russian science