Indeterminacy: Order Versus Chaos

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Indeterminacy: Order Versus Chaos

ABSTRACT: Indeterminacy, uncertainty, disorder, randomness, vagueness, fuzziness, ambiguity, crisis, undecideability, chaos, are all different terms. Yet, they are also semantically related to the idea of something opposed to order or structure and organization. Such terms denote prima facie insuperable obstacles to the attainment of true, certain, or precise knowledge about things and events. After analysing the ontological, logical, and axiological status of indeterminary, I outline the aoristic logic which allows adequate descriptions of phenomena pertaining to an area of indeterminary. Aoristic logic provides a propositional calculus that makes possible the compatibility of order with indeterminacy.

1. Argument

Truth, certainty, precision are the highest criteria for judgement on any statement concerning structures and processes of a universe within the reach of the human mind. People learned that the mythological heritage cannot satisfy all spiritual needs and, consequently, the mind activity extended from the perceptual explanation of the world to the conception of means to record and disseminate the resulting cognitions. Thinking became gradually a researching activity with a lasting educational component and was able to develop a twofold advance: philosophy dealing with general retrospective analyses and prospective outlooks, and science focussing the attention on particular actual problems approached by specific means. In spite of obvious differences, both philosophical and scientifical thoughts are to submit their statements to he above criteria for assuming the noblest tasks of Paideia.

At the turning of our century the science of the inert world, i.e. physics and chemistry, discovered phenomena that compelled the scientists to revise old deterministic patterns of explanation wich became controversial, and to look for new ones. During our century concepts like natural law, order, certainty became a matter of doubt for both theoretical and experimental scientists. Almost concomitantly biologists discovered that life phenomena had to be approached as chains of changes, so that the concept of creation was to be redefined together with the concept of order. Similar changes were recorded in the social sciences wich are dealing with animal and human collectivities. Finally, the uncontroversial model of exactness, mathematics, had refine its tools in order to tackle the problems issued from empirical sciences and to use efficiently the amazing facilities provided by electronic computational devices.

All these changes of pattern in science have entailed many ideatic changes in the philosophical camp, where were working not only specialized philosophers but also scientists who used to expound sometimes polemically their own theses on topics from their domains.

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