From Emergency to Emergence. Learning to inhabit complexity and to expect the unexpected

Journal title SALUTE E SOCIETÀ
Author/s Piero Dominici
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/1
Language English Pages 17 P. 135-151 File size 249 KB
DOI 10.3280/SES2023-001010
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Our hypertechnological civilization, obsessed with attempting to control and predict every event and every aspect of our lives, has not yet understood that emergency is a connotative element of complexity and of the complex systems that we call "life". This means that emer-gency, like error, is an intrinsic part of our lives and can never be predicted, prevented or managed, much less eliminated. Seeking solutions by delegating carte blanche to technology, stak-ing all on know-how, speed and simulation, is the "great mistake" of today’s digitalized society and of its educational institutions. In dealing with emergency, rather than rationalizing our inadequacies and those of our authorities and experts by using the age-old metaphor "black swan" (Taleb, 2007; 2012), students and teachers alike need to be empowered to inhabit complexity, to expect unpredictability, and to tackle emergency through creativity and self-organization, in order to be able to fully comprehend how emergency can become emergence.

Keywords: emergency; emergence; unpredictability; complex systems; hypercomplexity; epis-temology of error.

  1. Anderson P. (1972). More is Different, Science, 177(4047): 393-396.
  2. Arendt H. (1958). The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  3. Ashby W.R. (1956). An Introduction to Cybernetics. London: Chapman & Hall.
  4. Bar-Yam Y. (1997). Dynamics of Complex Systems. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, Reading.
  5. Barabási A.L. (2002). Linked. How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life. Cambridge:Perseus.
  6. Bateson G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York: Ballantine Books.
  7. Bateson G. (1979). Mind and Nature. A necessary Unity. New York: Dutton.
  8. Baumann Z. (2008). The Art of Life. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  9. Beck U. (1986). Risikogesellschaft. Auf dem weg in eine andere Moderne (trad. it.: La società del rischio.Verso una seconda modernità. Roma: Carocci, 2000).
  10. Beck U. (2007). Weltrisikogesellschaft. Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Sicherheit (trad. it.: Conditio Humana.Il rischio nell’età globale. Roma-Bari: Laterza, 2008).
  11. Bertalanffy von L. (1968). General System Theory: Foundations, Development, Applications. New York: Braziller.
  12. Blastland M.(2019). The Hidden Half. How the World Conceals its Secrets. London: Atlantic Books.
  13. Bocchi G., Ceruti M. (1985). La sfida della complessità. Milano: Bruno Mondadori.
  14. Bostrom N. (2014). Superintelligence. Paths, Dangers, Strategies (trad. it.: Superintelligenza. Tendenze, pericoli, strategie. Torino: Bollati Boringhieri, 2018).
  15. Canguilhelm G. (1966). Le normal et le pathologique (trad. it.: Il normale e il patologico. Torino: Einaudi, 1998).
  16. Capra F. (1975). The Tao of Physics. Boston: Shambhala.
  17. Capra F. (1996). The web of life. Parklands, RSA: Random House South Africa.
  18. Capra F., Luisi P.L. (2014). The Systems View of Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  19. Crawford K. (2021). Atlas of AI (trad. it.: Né intelligente né artificiale. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2021).
  20. Dewey J. (1916). Democracy and Education. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education (trad. it: Democrazia e educazione. Un’introduzione alla filosofia dell’educazione. Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1992).
  21. Dewey J. (1929). La ricerca della certezza. Firenze: La Nuova Italia.
  22. Dewey J. (1933). Come pensiamo. Firenze: La Nuova Italia (2006).
  23. Diamond J. (1997). Guns, Germs, and Steel. The Fates of Human Societies (trad. it.: Armi, acciaio e malattie. Breve storia del mondo negli ultimi tredicimila anni. Torino: Einaudi, 1998).
  24. Diamond J. (2005). Collapse How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (trad. it.: Collasso. Come le società scelgono di morire o vivere. Torino: Einaudi, 2005).
  25. Dominici P. (1995-1996). Per un’etica dei new-media. Firenze: Firenze Libri Ed.1998.
  26. Dominici P. (2005). La comunicazione nella società ipercomplessa. Condividere la conoscenza per governare il mutamento. Roma: FrancoAngeli.
  27. Dominici P. (2014a). Dentro la società interconnessa. Prospettive etiche per un nuovo ecosistema della comunicazione. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  28. Dominici P. (2014b). La modernità complessa tra istanze di emancipazione e derive dell’individualismo. Studi di Sociologia, 3.
  29. Dominici P. (2015). Communication and Social Production of Knowledge. A new contract for the Society of Individuals. Comunicazioni Sociali, 1.
  30. Dominici P. (2016a). Il grande equivoco. Ripensare l’educazione (#digitale) per la Società Ipercomplessa.“Fuori dal Prisma”, Il Sole 24 Ore, Milano.
  31. Dominici P. (2016b). L’utopia Post-Umanista e la ricerca di un Nuovo Umanesimo per la Società Ipercomplessa. Comunicazioni Sociali, 3.
  32. Dominici P. (2017a). For an Inclusive Innovation. Healing the Fracture between the Human and the Technological. European Journal of Future Research.
  33. Dominici P. (2018). Hyper-technological society? There’s no need for technicians, but for “hybrid figures”. Morning Future. -- Available at:
  34. Dominici P. (2019a). Controversies on hypercomplexity and on education. In: Fabris A., Scarafile G., eds., Controversies in the Contemporary World. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  35. Dominici P. (2019b). The Struggle for a Society of Responsibility and Transparency: the core question of Education and Culture. In: Carloni E., Paoletti D., Preventing Corruption through Administrative Measures. European Union Programme Hercule III (2014-2020), European Commission. Perugia: ANAC, Morlacchi Ed.
  36. Dominici P. (2019c). La complessità della complessità e l’errore degli errori. Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani. -- Available at:
  37. Dominici P. (2019d). Dentro la Società Interconnessa. La cultura della complessità per abitare i confini e le tensioni della civiltà ipertecnologica. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  38. Dominici P. (2020a). Comunicação é cidadania. In: Kraus Luvizotto C., Ferin Cunha I., eds., Comunicação, Cidadania e Movimentos Sociais: Vivências, pp. 12-22, Aveiro: Ria Editorial.
  39. Dominici P. (2020b). Educating for the Future in the Age of Obsolescence. CADMUS, 4(3): 93-109.
  40. Dominici P. (2020c). The complexity of communication. The communication of complexity. MATRIZes, 14(2): 15-19.
  41. Dominici P. (2022a). The weak link of democracy and the challenges of educating towards global citizenship. In: Torres C.A., Gaudelli W., Bosio E., eds., Values, Knowledge and Curriculum in Global Citizenship Education. Springer: UNESCO.
  42. Dominici P. (2022b). The Digital Mockingbird: Anthropological Transformation and the “New Nature”. World Futures. The Journal of New Paradigm Research, 78. DOI: 10.1080/02604027.2022.202853
  43. Dominici P. (2022c). Beyond the Darkness. The world-system and the urgency of rebuilding a truly open and inclusive civilization, capable of coping with organizational complexity. Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze dell’Amministrazione, 2: 1-24. ISSN 0391-190X ISSNe 1972-4942
  44. Dominici P. (2022d). Human Hypercomplexity: Error and Unpredictability in Complex Multi-Chaotic Social Systems. In: Karaca Y., Baleanu D., Zhang Yu-Dong, Gervasi O., Moonis M., eds., Multi-Chaos, Fractal and Multi-Fractional Artificial Intelligence of Different Complex Systems. ELSEVIER, Academic Press, Paperback ISBN: 9780323900324.
  45. Dominici P., Flores Vivar J.M. (2022e). La Gran Equivocación: Replantear la educación y la formación virtual para la “sociedad hipercompleja” del mundo global. Comunicación y Hombre, 18. ISSN: 1885-365X.
  46. Emery F.E. (1969). Systems Thinking. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  47. Foerster von H. (1981). Observing Systems. Seaside: Intersystems.
  48. Gell-Mann M. (1994). The Quark and the Jaguar. London: Abacus.
  49. Gell-Mann M. (1995). Complexity. New York: Wiley.
  50. Gentili P. L. (2018). Untangling Complex Systems: A Grand Challenge for Science. Boca Raton (FL, USA): CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.
  51. Haken H. (1977). Synergetics: An Introduction. Nonequilibrium phase-transitions and self-organization in physics, chemistry and biology. Heidelberg: Springer.
  52. Hammersley M. (2013). The Myth of Research-Based Policy and Practice. London: Sage.
  53. Hayek von F.A. (1964). The Theory of Complex Phenomena. In: Bunge M., The Critical Approach to Science and Philosophy. Essay in Honor of K.R.Popper. New York: Free Press.
  54. Heisenberg W. (1958). Physics and Philosophy: the Revolution in Modern Science, Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books.
  55. Hess C., Ostrom E. (2007). Understanding Knowledge As a Commons (trad. it.: La conoscenza come bene comune. Dalla teoria alla pratica. Milano: Bruno Mondadori, 2009).
  56. Holland J.H. (1975). Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems. Michigan: University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.
  57. Israel G. (2005). The Science of Complexity. Epistemological Problems and Perspectives. Science in Context, 18: 1-31.
  58. Kauffman S.A. (1971). Gene Regulation Networks. Current Topics in Developmental Biology, 6: 145-182.
  59. Kauffman S.A. (1993). Origins of Order. NY: Oxford Univ. Press.
  60. Kiel L.D. (1994). Managing chaos and complexity in government. San Francisco: JoseyBass.
  61. Krugman P. (1996). The Self-organizing Economy. Oxford: Blackwell.
  62. Kuhlmann M. (2013). What is Real?. Sci Am, 209(2): 40-47.
  63. Kuhn T. (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolution. Chicago, Ill.: The University of Chicago Press.
  64. Lakatos I., Musgrave A. (1970). Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  65. Laszlo E. (1996). The Systems view of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time. NY: Hampton Press.
  66. Le Moigne J.-L. (1977). La théorie du système général. Paris: Presses Universitaires.
  67. Lorenz E.N. (1963). The Essence of Chaos. Seattle: Univ. of Wash Press.
  68. Lovelock J. (1979). Gaia. A New Look at Life on Earth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  69. Luhmann N. (1984). Soziale Systeme. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  70. Luhmann N. (1990). The autopoiesis of social systems. Journal of Sociocybernetics, 6(2), 84-95.
  71. Luhmann N. (1991). Soziologie des Risikos (trad. it.: Sociologia del rischio. Milano: Bruno Mondadori, 1996).
  72. MacAllister J. et al. (2013). Searching for excellence in education: knowledge, virtue and presence?. Ethics and Education, 8(2): 153-165. DOI: 10.1080/17449642.2013.84396
  73. Mandelbrot B.B. (1977). Fractals: forms, chance and dimensions. San Francisco: WH Freeman.
  74. Mathews K.M., White M.C., Long R.G. (1999). Why Study the Complexity Sciences in the Social Sciences?. Human Relations, 25: 439-461. DOI: 10.1177/00187267990520040
  75. Maturana H.R., Varela F.J. (1980). Autopoiesis and Cognition. London: Reidel Publishing Company.
  76. Maturana H.R., Varela F.J. (1985). The Tree of Knowledge. Boston: New Science Library.
  77. McCall R., Burge J. (2016). Untangling wicked problems. Artif. Intell. Eng. Des. Anal. Manuf, 30: 200–210.
  78. Mead G.H. (1934). Mind, Self and Society (trad. it.: Mente, Sè e Società. Firenze: Barbera, 1996).
  79. Montuori A. (2014). Journeys in Complexity: Autobiographical Accounts by Leading Systems and Complexity Thinkers. London: Routledge.
  80. Morin E. (1973). Le paradigme perdu: la nature humaine. Paris: Le Seuil.
  81. Morin E. (1977). La Méthode. Volumes I-VI. Paris: Éditions Points.
  82. Morin E. (1990). Introduction à la pensèe complexe (trad. it.: Introduzione al pensiero complesso. Milano: Sperling & Kupfer, 1993).
  83. Morin E. (1999a). Les sept savoirs nécessaires à l’éducation du futur (trad. it.: I sette saperi necessari all’educazione del futuro. Milano: Raffaello Cortina, 2001).
  84. Morin E. (1999b). La tête bien faite (trad. it.: La testa ben fatta. Riforma dell’insegnamento e riforma del pensiero. Milano: Raffaello Cortina, 2000).
  85. Neumann von J. (1958). The Computer and the Brain. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  86. Neumann von J. (1966). The Theory of Self-reproducing Automata. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
  87. Nicolis G., Nicolis C. (2007). Foundations of Complex Systems. Singapore: World Scientific.
  88. Panikkar R. (1989). The Rhythm of Being: The Gifford Lectures. NY: Orbis Book Published.
  89. Poincaré H. (1885). Sur l’équilibre d’une masse fluide animée d’un mouvement de rotation. Acta Mathematica, 7: 259-380.
  90. Poincaré J.H.(1908). Science et méthode. Paris: Flammarion.
  91. Popper K.R. (1934). The Logic of Scientific Discovery. London: Routhledge.
  92. Popper K.R. (1994). The Myth of the Framework. London: Routhledge.
  93. Prigogine I. (1996). La fin des certitudes. Paris: Editions Odile Jacob.
  94. Prigogine I., Stengers I. (1979). La Nouvelle Alliance. Paris: Gallimard.
  95. Prigogine I., Stengers I. (1984). Order out of Caos. New York: Bentham Books.
  96. Prigogine I., Stengers I. (1997). The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos, and the New Laws of Nature. New York: New York Free Press.
  97. Profumo F. (2018). Leadership per l’innovazione nella scuola. Bologna: Il Mulino.
  98. Rainie L., Wellman B. (2012). Networked: The New Social Operating System (trad. it.: Networked. Il nuovo sistema operativo sociale. Milano: Guerini, 2012).
  99. Simon H.A. (1962). The Architecture of Complexity. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 106: 467-82. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-27922-5_2
  100. Sloman S., Fernbach P. (2017). The Knowledge Illusion. Why We Never Think Alone. Stati Uniti: Penguin Publishing Group.
  101. Sorokin P.A. (1941). Social and Cultural Dynamics. Vols. 1-4. New York: The Bedminster Press.
  102. Stewart I. (1989). Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos. Oxford: Blackwell Pub.
  103. Taleb N.N. (2007). The Black Swan (trad. it.: Il cigno nero, come l’improbabile governa la nostra vita. Milano: Il Saggiatore, 2007).
  104. Taleb N.N. (2012). Antifragile. New York: Random House.
  105. Tegmark M. (2017). Life 3.0. Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. United States: Alfred A. Knopf.
  106. Tegmark M. (2017). Life 3.0. Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. (trad. it.: Vita 3.0. Essere umani nell’era dell’intelligenza artificiale. Milano: Raffaello Cortina Ed, 2018).
  107. Turner J.R., Baker R.M. (2019). Complexity Theory: An Overview with Potential Applications for the Social Sciences. Systems, 7(1).
  108. Van den Branden K. et al., a cura di, (2022). Equity & Excellence in Education. London: Routledge.
  109. Viesti G. (2016). Università in declino. Un’indagine sugli atenei da Nord a Sud. Napoli: Donzelli.
  110. Viesti G. (2018). La laurea negata. Le politiche contro l’istruzione universitaria. Roma-Bari: Laterza.
  111. Weaver W.(1948). Science and Complexity. American Scientist, 36: 536 DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4899-0718-9_3
  112. Weber M. (1922). Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre (trad. it.: Il metodo delle scienze storico-sociali. Torino: Einaudi, 1958).
  113. Wiener N. (1948). Cybernetics: or Control and communication in the animal and the machine. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
  114. Wiener N. (1950). The Human Use of Human Beings. Stati Uniti: Avon Books, Incorporated.
  115. Young M. (1958). The rise of Meritocracy. London: Thames and Hudson.

Piero Dominici, From Emergency to Emergence. Learning to inhabit complexity and to expect the unexpected in "SALUTE E SOCIETÀ" 1/2023, pp 135-151, DOI: 10.3280/SES2023-001010