For centuries, humankind has believed that the world with all its form and structure was created by supernatural forces. In recent decades science has shaken these beliefs with the discovery of the exciting possibility of a self-created and self-creating world - of self-organization. Synergetics endeavours to reveal the intimate mechanisms of self-organization. The transitions from chaos to order, the nature of self-organization, the various approaches to it and certain philosophical inferences are outlined. Synergetics thus represents a remarkable confluence of many strands of thought, and has become a paradigm in modern culture. This book exposes the reader to striking new vistas in physics and mathematics, chemistry and biology, social sciences and philosophy - all interlocked around the concept of self-organization.
Part 1: Synergy of sciences: the subject of synergetics; systems, structures, self-organization; self-organization phenomena; the role of the medium; levels of description and approaches to self-organization. Part 2: Chaos, order, evolution: chaos, order, symmetry; evolution of the evolutionary views. Part 3 Theoretical approaches to self-organization physics and the "mystery" of life": the thermodynamic approach; the dynamic approach; the synergetic approach. Part 4 The new alliance: metaevolution; metamorphosis of science; man's dialogue with nature. Appendices: complementarity and irreversibility; information and self-organization; phase space.