P. CHECKLAND characterizes the three basic tenets of hard sciences methodology as "reductionism, repeatability and refutation" He states: "We may reduce the complexity of the variety of the real world in experiments whose results are validated by their repeatability, and we may build knowledge by the refutation of hypotheses" (1976, p.128).
Reductionism allows us to "… systematically investigate a few variables in the artificially simple world of the laboratory… to ensure that the results will be intelligible and, hopefully, unequivocal" (Ibid).
On the other hand, "The reductionist is the most enthousiastic wielder of OCKAM's razor… explaining the results using the smallest possible number of concepts" (Ibid, p.131 & 128).
Reapetability, is the basic tool for validation in hard sciences.
As to refutation, K. POPPER (quoted by CHECKLAND) stated it as follows: "The method of science is the method of bold conjectures and ingenious and severe attempts to refutethem" (Ibid, p.129).
Unfortunately, none of the three R's can be used freely in the study of living and social systems.
Reductionism suppresses most of the significant interrrelations in living or social networks.
Experiences – and still more repeated experiences – are possible on living and social systems only in a very limited and generally artificialized way.
And, as a result, refutability is hindered, because it is quite difficult to inscribe specific cases in general hypotheses.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
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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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