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2010 | 117 | 4 | 706-715
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Complexity of Social Systems

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The term "complexity" used frequently as a kind of "buzzword" has gained a specific role in the language of modern social sciences and social practice. A question is arising - how can we understand complexity of social systems/social phenomena which are characterized by limited possibility of explanation, unpredictability or low reliability of prediction? The aim of the paper is to provide a partial answer to this question. A survey of characteristics of complex systems and typology of various kinds of complexity, and of their sources is presented. It is also shown that broadly defined social systems (human systems) are affected by all kinds of complexity - they are "complexities of complexities". Using the typology of interpretations of complexity as an example, it is shown what are the limitations of transferring knowledge from physics, chemistry, information theory and biology to the studies of complexity of social systems. It is especially emphasized that mathematical models, which are treated as objective when applied in social sciences must be considered as an element of intersubjective discourse.
  • Cracow University of Economics, Rakowicka 27, PL-31-510 Kraków, Poland
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