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Negativity, Difference and Critique: The Ethical Moment in Complexity

Year: 2010
Author: Grebe, Eduard
Unit: ASRU
Book title: Complexity, Difference and Identity
Pages: 95-111
ISBN: 978-90-481-9186-4
DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-9187-1_6
Editor(s): P. Cilliers and R. Preiser
Publisher: Springer

The correlation between the characteristics of complex systems and a post-structuralist understanding of systems of meaning opens up a position from which complexity science can offer important insights towards the formation of a critical philosophy. An exploration of the philosophical lineage of the notion critique demonstrates that complexity theory is an extension and radicalisation of the logic of negativity (or non-identity) and difference as found in the critical tradition of philosophy represented by Hegel, Adorno and Derrida. The negative impulse informing the critical tradition has important implications for understanding the notion of identity as something which is constituted by difference in a system of meaning. By situating the study of complexity within the tradition of the negative dialectic and relating it with deconstruction, complexity theory acquires the potential to be a rich resource for critical and progressive thinking in the humanities.

Link: http://www.springerlink.com/content/t61m32m5p4h83wl8/