Any theory introducing some unverifiable hypothesis – at least provisionally – in order to solve some difficulties, unsolvable within a former theory.
R. VALLÉE points out a trend in contemporary theoretical and mathematical physics to "replace visible complication by invisible simplicity" (in the words of the French physicist Jean PERRIN). This is the case when "to a complicated theory describing perceived reality within the limits of its possibilities, we substitute a simpler theory, but at the same time we introduce a universe partially unknown in its own nature or because of the limitations of our observation means" (1990b, p.41).
Three different cases seem to be possible:
1. The new theory is validated when new and adequate means of observation become available: This was the case with atomic theory in chemistry, with special relativity in physics and astrophysics and with continental drift or plate tectonics in geology.
2. The new theory is falsified in POPPER's sense by some new experiment. This was the case of the ether theory after MICHELSON and MORLEY's experiment.
3. The new theory is neither validated nor falsified, but introduces some unsolvable epistemological enigma.
VALLÉE describes this last type of theories as "projective" as: "So we go (back), through a kind of projection (which justifies the name of projective theories given to this type), from an unobservable world, where we have simple laws (we could say a logos) to an observable world with complex laws (Ibid). This concept of VALLÉE is closely linked with his "epistemological subjectivity", a unavoidable condition, according to him, of any observing, deciding and acting system.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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