In 1962 Th. Kuhn, American philosopher and science historian published his work The structure of Scientific Revolution, a book which was gong to soon become a success. The key-term launched by Kuhn was that of "paradigm", a polisemantic, ambiguous term which is most of the time understood in the restricted sense of "scientific achievement universally acknowledged which, for some time, raises problems and gives model solutions to a group of practitioners". Every epoch had its own paradigms, so that we can well talk about: Aristotle's paradigm, the paradigm of classical science, the present scientific paradigm, etc. each of them circumscribed to a dominant metaphysics which makes them incomparable.
The period of transition from one paradigm to another are often characterised by a strong spiritual effervescence, or even by intellectual "convulsions".
This is what happened at the beginning of the 20th Century when, after 300 years of supremacy by the classical scientific paradigm, the transition to the present scientific paradigm was made. Within this last paradigm we can identify three main domains whose issuing meant a revolution in the true sense of the word:
1. the theory of relativity (restricted and generalised)
2. quantum mechanics
3. the science of complexity
The great importance of these mutations is revealed by the fact that beside the fractal aspect, the fundamental onthologic assumptions are tackled as well. Thus: space, time, the present, the possible, causality, determinism, identity, etc. need to be reformulated.
The last of these revolutions urges us to develop the mind to the level of nature's complexity, to resent the simplification of nature to the level of the models known today.
The science of complexity integrates the morphologic theories, which
attempts to describe and explain form under all aspects: genesis, stability, and disappearance. The classical science didn't have them in view as such, being interested rather in the analytic study of nature to the end of simplifying and reducing it to physio-mathematical models. If with Aristotle applying mathematics to physics was utterly mistaken, i.e. an error of category, with Galliley this is what gave reason to the scientific study.
The world of form can be explored by the use of several theories.
- the theory of calamities
- the theory of fractals
- the theory of dissipating structures
- the theory of chaos