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The Possibility, Necessity and Treatment of Complexity in Physics: A Historical Approximation


  • Carrete Montaña, Jesús


This work contains a brief outline of the history of physics, starting from the little that can be speculated about the proto-scientific attitudes of prehistoric men and ending with the most important developments experienced by the field in the 20th century. Its goal is to provide the reader with a summary of the long journey of thought from the time when human beings started showing intellectual curiosity about their surroundings until they were able to develop a scientific method close to nature and emancipated from philosophy and theology. Emphasis is put on the description of this journey as the traversing of a path towards reductionism, which reached its pinnacle in the mindset associated to classical mechanics in the times of Isaac Newton. Part of these ideas were later put into question by further advances in physics, which called for conceptually more complex generalizations. Today, physics, just like other branches of knowledge, is making progress towards the treatment of complex systems, a new area whose conquest will require much more diverse approaches and methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Carrete Montaña, Jesús, 2012. "The Possibility, Necessity and Treatment of Complexity in Physics: A Historical Approximation," Revista Galega de Economía, University of Santiago de Compostela. Faculty of Economics and Business., vol. 21(1).
  • Handle: RePEc:sdo:regaec:v:21:y:2012:i:1_bt2

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    Physics; History; Complexity; Reductionism;


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