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To remind the trivial: innovation constitutes the means of societal rejuvenation substantiating societal metamorphosis. Innovation appears symptom, origin and driver as well as result of societal change. Innovate, or shrink and decline. The ubiquitous shifts of globalisation need be met by proactive adapting innovation. Adaptation extends to fundamentally changing preconditions in virtually any domain. It calls for continuous root novelties. Main cause for insufficient development appears the lack of mayor avant-garde innovations. Innovations affect competition and co-operation in any domain of life. Evolutionally focal pivots for innovation lie in the dynamics of complexity and meaning in societal life. Innovation itself needs comprehensively be re-designed: its societal functions, targets and objectives, modes and instruments. The change pertains the entire culture and civilization process.

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The following theses will be elaborated on: (a) The whole is at the same time more and less than its parts; (b) We must abandon the term “object” for systems because all the objects are systems and parts of systems; (c) System and organization are the two faces of the same reality; (d) Eco-systems illustrate self-organization.

When thinking about systems, the first thing to note is that systems are complex. They are complex in several senses. First, systems include many connections between parts that appear as separate entities when viewed from the perspective of the classical scientific disciplines. Second, the system is a unity even though it is comprised of a diversity of parts. Thus we have the primary definition of the complexity of a system, given by Ashby as being a measure of the diversity of parts within the system. This was the first important definition of complexity in the field of science. However, I maintain that a system is also complex in a logical sense, because when you look at a complex problem you immediately see the limits of classical logic, because we can see that the system is, at the same time, both more and less than the sum of its parts.

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Thrivability is a novel concept describing the intention to go beyond sustainability, allowing a system to flourish. For a society or organization to be thrivable, educated, responsible acting agents are needed. Traditional education focuses on (efficient) reproduction of existing organised bodies of information. We argue that complex adaptive systems theory and chaos theory provide concepts well suited to inform the design of learning environments, in order to facilitate a thrivable organization. This learning is not linear and externally controlled, but happens in a chaotic, yet guided manner. After discussing the suitability of the theoretical body of these general approaches, we show how a concrete progressive education approach, called the Dalton-Plan pedagogy, implements and supports these elements. By doing so, we show that the Dalton-Plan pedagogy is well suited for education of agents working in and for thrivable organizations. Support for teachers as part of this evolving learning system is provided by an e-learning environment.

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The network nature of informational society is analyzed for understanding the challenges to contemporary education. Becoming of this society actualizes the need for lifelong learning, self-study, the reorientation of thinking style. The author attempts to explicate the methodological potential of E.Morin’s complexity paradigm for comprehension of informational challenges to education. Morin’s anthropo-ethics is investigated as a conceptual demonstration of the new paradigm in humanities. From the complexity paradigm perspective the education is viewed as transphenomenal by its nature with the transdisciplinary character of cognition, and the transdiscursive essence of educational thoughts. The education has to redefine its main didactic principles from a controlled and controlling discipline-based education, predicted targets towards a discovered, transdisciplinary, developing curriculum. The author underlines that the complexity-based curriculum should be oriented to multidimensional nature of a human being, because education is declared to stimulate the inner potential of a human and create the educational conditions for complexity thinking.

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This paper studies whether university tuition fees affect high school students’ intention to acquire a university degree and whether tuition fees influence the actual number of university graduates in Germany. Moreover, it analyses whether individuals from low income households are more affected by the introduction of tuition fees than those from richer families. Since tuition fees lower the net present value of studying, the introduction of tuition fees is expected to impact on the career plans of high school students. If individuals are subject to the same loan market constraints and have the same endowments, individuals should make similar decisions regarding their educational plans. However, differences in financial assets and disparities in access to the loan market predict varying effects of tuition fees, and individuals from low income households might be more likely to be deterred from studying. Hence, the introduction of tuition fees might increase income disparities in society. Overall, we find that the introduction and subsequent abolishment of university tuition fees in Germany influence young people’s educational aspirations and impact on the number of university graduates. The empirical findings suggest that even relative low levels of tuition fees of around 1,000 euros per year are likely to deter students from lower socio-economic backgrounds from studying and might therefore contribute to increasing educational and income inequalities in society.

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This paper defines a theoretical framework aiming to support the actions and reflections of researchers looking for a ‘method’ in order to critically conceive the complexity of a scientific process of research. First, it starts with a brief overview of the core assumptions framing Morin’s “paradigm of complexity” and Le Moigne’s “general system theory”. Distinguishing ‘methodology’ and ‘method’, the framework is conceived based on three moments, which represent recurring stages of the spiraling development of research. The first moment focuses on the definition of the research process and its sub-systems (author, system of ideas, object of study and method) understood as a complex form of organization finalized in a specific environment. The second moment introduces a matrix aiming to model the research process and nine core methodological issues, according to a programmatic and critical approach. Using the matrix previously modeled, the third moment suggests conceiving of the research process following a strategic mindset that focuses on contingencies, in order to locate, share and communicate the path followed throughout the inquiry.

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To better appreciate the contribution of the ‘paradigm of complexity’ in Educational sciences, this paper proposes a framework discussing its cultural and historical roots. First, it focuses on Giambattista Vico’s critique of René Descartes’ method, contrasting Cartesian’s principles (evidence, disjunction, linear causality and enumeration), with the open rationality of the ‘ingenium’ (capacity to establish relationships and contextualize). Acknowledging the teleological character of scientific inquiry (Bachelard) and the inseparability between ‘subject’ and ‘object’, the second part of the text explores the relevance of ‘designo’ (intentional design) implemented by Leonardo da Vinci in order to identify and formulate problems encountered by researchers. Referring to contemporary epistemologists (Bachelard, Valéry, Simon, Morin), this contribution finally questions the relationships between the ‘ingenio’ (pragmatic intelligence), the ‘designo’ (modeling method) and ethics. It proposes one to conceive the paradigm of complexity through the relationships it establishes between (pragmatic) action, (epistemic) reflection and meditation (ethics).

Because the Cartesian Method undermines ingenium and ingenium was given to human beings in order to understand, that is, to act intentionally… – Giambattista Vico

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The transdisciplinary literature review is an opportunity to situate the inquirer in an ecology of ideas. This article explores how we might approach this process from a perspective of complexity, and addresses some of the key challenges and opportunities. Four main dimensions are considered: (a) inquiry-based rather than discipline-based; (b) integrating rather than eliminating the inquirer from the inquiry; (c) meta-paradigmatic rather than intra-paradigmatic; and (d) applying systems and complex thought rather than reductive/disjunctive thinking.

What sets transdisciplinarity apart from multi- and inter-disciplinarity is that it is grounded in a fundamental reappraisal and reformulation of the nature of knowledge and inquiry. While considerable steps have been made to articulate the more theoretical dimensions of transdisciplinarity, a new fertile ground is the application of a transdisciplinary approach to education, specifically graduation education, and to very basic dimensions of scholarship such as the literature review. Interweaving dimensions of theory and practice, I have reflected on some of the issues that arise in the process of developing a transdisciplinary literature review, emphasizing in particular the creative/constructive and complexity dimensions of the process.

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The aim of this article is to open a conversation between the complexity & education community and the field of interdisciplinarity (as well as its close relative, interprofessionalism). It starts by describing two very different streams of thought in the literature on interdisciplinary research and education: One that focuses on the socio-cultural dynamics among disciplinary ‘knowers’ and one that emphasizes the complexity of the phenomena studied by these disciplinary knowers. Next, the author argues that recent epistemological thinking associated with the complexity & education community can help to integrate these streams of thought—offering a way for interdisciplinary inquiry to respect both the complexity of knowers and the complexity of the known.

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Although signs of empathy have now been well documented in non-human primates, only during the past few years have systematic observations suggested that a primal form of empathy exists in rodents. Thus, the study of empathy in animals has started in earnest. Here we review recent studies indicating that rodents are able to share states of fear, and highlight how affective neuroscience approaches to the study of primary-process emotional systems can help to delineate how primal empathy is constituted in mammalian brains. Cross-species evolutionary approaches to understanding the neural circuitry of emotional ‘contagion’ or ‘resonance’ between nearby animals, together with the underlying neurochemistries, may help to clarify the origins of human empathy.

In ongoing cycles of cultural-historical progressions, some have seen periodic signs of increasing empathy in human affairs, albeit with periods of intensified self-serving greed. Indeed, the fuller manifestation of empathy in humans may have promoted the emergence of human rights movements within the past two centuries of human cultural evolution, as exemplified by democratization, emancipation of slaves, together with women’s and gay rights movements. Indeed, perhaps our lateralized neocortical specializations have differential capacities for empathy, with the left hemisphere being more capable of promoting self-serving social dominance and arrogance, whereas the right is more pro-socially attuned toward altruism and empathic views of social life. Thus, the emergence of modern conceptions of fairness may still need to compete with our natural tendencies toward racially and kin-biased social favoritism. Clearly we have much left to learn about the ways of empathy. What we can be most confident of is that most neural knowledge about how empathy is constituted remains to be discovered.