The Other Pardigm



  • Robert Johannson


Plato, Aristotle, paradigm, information, decision, cybernetics, holism, gestalt, law, telecommunications


            It is well known and accepted that science is identified with materialism, and has a preference for deterministic explanations. All events in the real world are assumed to have causes that can be mathematically modeled and predicted. Thus anything that looks like a decision is merely the inevitable result of the scientific laws of cause and effect. This has been adapted in the last century to add that those events not mathematically predictable are random events and, though not individually predictable, their distribution is, and follows a bell shaped curve. The idea of making plans or setting goals is considered a delusion referred to as the “intentional fallacy.” We can trace this metaphysical system back to its origins in medieval nominalism and in classical times to Aristotle.

            Although materialist philosophy is the dominant metaphysics of Western culture, there has always been another metaphysical model which can be traced back to medieval realism and in classical time to the philosophy of Plato. In the last century the inability of materialism to account for freedom and creativity in human beings and in nature has brought a rediscovery of Platonic ideas in the role of communication and decision making in the structure of nature and human societies. The discoveries of gestalt psychology, information systems, and cybernetics have brought ideas back as a central cause in understanding events in the real world, and place freedom at the centre of life. The recognition of the role in natural processes of information and communication, as well as matter and energy, is essential to creating a unified theory of systems.