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Synergetics in Anthropological Studies: pragmatic aspects


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Synergetics in Anthropological Studies: pragmatic aspects

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Pages: 381


The book studies different aspects of how synergetics is applied in anthropological studies. Within less than fifty years of its existence, synergetics passed from being “a new word” in science to being a post-modernist fashion, to provoke an avalanche of severe and – in many ways – justified criticisms. It is now time to contemplate the content of this ‘new word’ and the scope within which synergetics can be applied in a justified and productive manner. A historian himself, the author focuses on the humanities, recurring to the mathematics only to the extent normally understood by majority of the humanities students.
First, the author addresses a retrospection of alternating worldviews in mass consciousness and in science. He demonstrates how and why science arrived to a state when synergetic ideas became necessary and demanded. He then briefly explains main concepts of the synergetics, mainly focusing on their clear definitions and applicability. His special concern is with the problem of time, mainly how it is perceived by humans and reflected in social processes (‘the time for history’) and in disciplines that study these processes (‘the time for historians’). Also here, he raises the problem of ‘fact as a construct’, not in the sense of voluntary construction of facts, but rather in the sense of inherent complexity of ‘fact’ as a concept, its dependence on the point of view chosen by the researcher and the associated problems.
Then the author addresses application of synergetics in particular research fields and uses the nomogenesis theory advanced by L.S. Berg in 1920s to demonstrate that application of synergetic ideas could save this theory from accusations in teleology and allow it to protect its scientific status. He then pays special attention to the attempts to use synergetics in historical studies (mainly in post-soviet space). Unfortunately, it has been a bitter experience, mainly, with many authors regarding this ‘new science’ as a new ideology or a post-modernist jargon. Such attempts have been critically analyzed. At the same time, there are also works demonstrating substantiated and productive application of synergetic ideas, such as works by A.P. Nazaretyan and M.E. Tkachuk, or by E.S. Kulpin-Gubaidullin, in general (although not without objections), etc. These authors and their ideas enjoy a special attention in this book. P. Teilhard de Chardin’s works have received a special recognition: he expressed many synergetic ideas well before I.P. Prigozhin and G. Hacken.
A special chapter is dedicated to the problem advanced in the mid 1990s: can elaboration of functional models replace search of truth in science? Even those authors who insisted on this possibility, try to avoid post-modernism and transformation of science into a form of modern mythology. Polemic debates on this issue generated a thesis that pursuance of truth and construction of models, in fact, are not in confrontation to each other.
Generally, the author draws the following conclusions. Synergetics, essentially, is a methodology, rather than a science, which further develops Hegel’s and Marx’s traditional dialectics (some Russian researchers have also made a similar conclusion). It can get rid of both too rigid cause-and-effect explanations in historical sciences and historical fatalism, while at the same time, preserve the scientific character. At the same time, it focuses on multivariance of historical and cultural process and allows distinguishing possible versions of further development in each particular case and capturing such factors (insignificant, sometimes), which may force social system to follow a certain way out of a number of potential choices. At the same time, the synergetic approach allows demonstrating the futility of social ideologies which regard a return to ‘simplicity’ – already unattainable in reality – as a panacea for all modern calamities. Moreover, as it is neutral towards religion, synergetics allows substantiating the new evolutionary theories that cover the inorganic nature and biological and social processes. At last, synergetic ideas have a great educational potential, which is proven by years of teaching.


Editor:
doctor of history Mark E. Tkachuk

Reviewer:
doctor of philosophical science, candidate of Psychology, professor Acop P. Nazaretyan



CONTENTS

FROM THE AUTHOR . . . 6

1. WORLDVIEWS BEFORE SYNERGETICS . . . 9

1.1. Worldview definition . . . 9
1.2. Worldviews in archaic and religious consciousness . . . 13
1.3. From religions to science: development of methodology . . . 20
1.4. Worldview in classical science . . . 33
1.5. Worldview as revised by structuralism and the cybernetics . . . 43

2. MAIN CONCEPTS OF SYNERGETICS . . . 51

2.1. Synergetics vs. theory of self-organization . . . 51
2.2. Phase space and phase parameters . . . 53
2.3. Attractors and their types . . . 55
2.4. Nonlinear condition category . . . 60
2.5. Fractals and their meaning . . . 64
2.6. The concept and essence of bifurcations . . . 73
2.7. Structure and chaos: most important categories of synergetics . . . 80

3. THE PROBLEM OF HUMAN TIME IN HISTORY . . . 86

3.1. The crisis of historical knowledge on the turn of the 19th—20th centuries . . . 86
3.2. Absolute and relative time . . . 91
3.3. The “time for history” and the “time for historians” . . . 96
3.4. The historical time and its human perception . . . 100
3.5. The object’s own time . . . 109

3.5.1. Formation of rhythm . . . 109
3.5.2. Ptolemy’s system as a mathematical model of nonlinear processes . . . 114

3.6. Individual time in H. Bergson’s concept . . . 119
3.7. F. Braudel’s types of historical time . . . 124
3.8. The problem of substantiality of historical fact . . . 129
3.9. The structure of fact . . . 134

4. SYNERGETICS AND EVOLUTIONISM . . . 146

4.1. ‘Synergetics of nature’ before Prigozhin and Hacken . . . 146
4.2. Principles of nomogenesis theory . . . 149
4.3. Selectionists’ objections . . . 156
4.4. Nomogenesis from the point of view of synergetics . . . 159

5.APPLICATION OF SYNERGETICS IN HISTORY . . . 164

5.1. Is ‘theoretical history’ possible? . . . 164
5.2. Problems at the joint of humanities and natural sciences . . . 168
5.3. Variants of post-nonclassical newest historical concepts: rehabilitation of historical idealism . . . 173
5.4. L.N. Gumilev’s ‘Synergetics of ethnos’ . . . 175
5.5. “Theoretical history” of S. P. Kapitsa, S. P. Kurdyumov and G. G. Malinetsky . . . 179
5.6. “Social synergetics’ and “ethnological akmeology” by V. P. Bransky and S. D. Pozharsky . . . 181
5.7. History and ecology in E. S. Kulpin’s concept . . . 195
5.8. “Techno-humanitarian balance” and anthropogenic crises in A. P. Nazaretyan’s concept . . . 205
5.9. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin . . . 220
5.10. History as alternating meanings in M. E. Tkachuk’s concept . . . 224
5.11. Conclusions: possible scope of synergetics in historical sciences . . . 231

6. SYNERGETICS, THE TRUTH AND THE MODELS . . . 234

6.1. The truth, or a model-based thinking? Problem definition . . . 236
6.2. «What is the truth?» . . . 239
6.3. The problem of values: ‘the truth’, or ‘our truth’? . . . 246
6.4. Can the truth be cancelled by interdisciplinarity? . . . 256
6.5. Classics or postmodernity? . . . 258
6.6. Do the truth-based and model-based thinking contradict each other? . . . 272

7. THE SYNERGETIC WORLDVIEW . . . 277

7.1. Synergetics as a methodology of myth? . . . 277
7.2. The landscape of the virtual world, or ‘the unity of place’ . . . 282

7.2.1. The dimensions and the structure of the virtual space . . . 282
7.2.2. A simplified version of cultural space: A. J. Toynbee’s case . . . 287
7.2.3. The problem of geographic determinism . . . 290

7.3. The time for the virtual world, or ‘the unity of time’ . . . 298
7.4. The character of natural processes, or ‘the unity of action’ . . . 300
7.4.1. Chaos as a factor of choice . . . 300
7.4.2. Trends in development or teleology? . . . 302
7.4.3. Does development have an ‘Omega spot’? . . . 308

8. EPILOGUE: WILL THE PROPHET TELL HIS OWN FORTUNE? . . . 312

8.1. Debates on applicability of synergetics . . . 312
8.2. A ‘new science’, or a new methodology for ‘old’ sciences? . . .314
8.3. Variability of the past . . . 316
8.4. The ambiguity of the concept of ‘order’. . . 317
8.5. Prophecies, predictions and freedom of actions . . . 322
8.6. Towards freedom via synergetics, or the outline of the desired future . . . 324
8.7. Conclusions (Twelve years after) . . . 337

REFERENCES (IN RUSSIAN) . . . 341
TRANSLITERATED REFERENCES . . . 352
SUBJECT INDEX . . . 364
NAME INDEX . . . 370
SUMMARY . . . 377


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Year — 2016
Paperback

Pages — 381
Format — 145×200 mm

ISBN: 978-9975-3148-5-5
E-ISBN: 978-9975-3148-6-2