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NEVES, Clarissa Eckert Baeta  and  NEVES, Fabrício Monteiro. What is complex in the complex world? Niklas Luhmann and the theory of social systems.Translated byMarcelo Severo. Sociologias [online]. 2006, vol.1Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 1517-4522.

This paper discusses Niklas Luhmann's understanding of complexity, its function in the theory and the different ways of its use. It starts with the paradigmatic change that occurred in the field of general Science, with the rupture of the Newtonian model. In the 20th century, the paradigm of order, symmetry, regularity, regulation of the intellect to things, collapses.Based on new formulations of Physics, Chemistry, etc., a new universe is built on bases radically opposed to those of modern Science.Chaos, the procedural irreversibility, indeterminism, the observer and the complexity are rehabilitated.This new conceptual context served as substratum to Niklas Luhmann's theoretical reflection.With his Theory of Social Systems, he proposes the reduction of the world's complexity.Social systems have the function of reducing complexity because of their difference in relation to the environment.On the other hand, the reduction of complexity also creates its own complexity. Luhmann defines complexity as the moment when it is not possible anymore for each element to relate at any moment with all the others. Complexity forces the selection, what means contingency and risk. Luhmann expands the concept of complexity when he introduces the figure of the observer and the distinction of complexity as a unit of a multiplicity. He also deals with the limit of relations in connection, the time factor, the self-reference of operations and the representation of complexity in the form of sense. To conclude, the paper discusses the complexity in the system of science, the way it reduces internal and external complexity, in accordance in its own operative basis.

Keywords : Complexity; social systems; science; complex world; system and environment; autopoiesis; second order observation; interdisciplinarity; transdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity.

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