Taking examples from across the natural and social sciences, this ambitious book examines the deep-seated assumptions that underpin the discovery of knowledge, and claims that all scientific methods are delusions in pursuit of theory. Using Systems Theory, in particular the concept of self-reference, the book argues that the process of observing tricks the human mind into developing a self-consistent description of itself; and a belief in the certainty of a causal 'reality'. Our theories and ways of thinking about the world around us are, in fact, distinct from the 'reality' being observed. This fresh, audacious work makes an important contribution to the study of scientific method, and takes readers out of the comfort zone of their perceived scientific certainty.
Ian O. Angell is Professor Emeritus at the London School of Economics. His many publications include The New Barbarian Manifesto: How to survive the information age. Dionysios S. Demetis is a Member of the Scientific Board of the Geolab Institute at the Ionian University, Greece.
List of Figures Preface to the New in Paperback edition Preface 1. Introduction 2. Divination and Theory Construction 3. Delusion 4.Individual Allusions Contra Sensory Overload 5. Patterns of Categorical Delusions 6. Tidy Minds, Technology, and the Myth of Control 7. Systems Theory 8. On the Premises of Observation 9. The Frame of Observation & the Functional Differentiation of Science 10. Higher Order Observations 11. Asymmetry and Self-Reference 12. Collapsing Systems 13. The 'Reality' of the Real Epilogue: Science's First Mistake Notes References Index