Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963992 | Print ISBN: 9781412906784 | Online ISBN: 9781412963992| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Wm. E. Doll Jr
Complexity theory, along with fractal geometry and chaos theory, is one of the “new sciences” that came to prominence in the latter part of the twentieth century. These three fields contribute to a new awareness that nature in its organization is complex, fractaled, and turbulent. This is quite different from the past (modernist) view that nature is simple, linear, and stable in form and organization. The new theory and its application to education are described in this entry. Isaac Newton, in the seventeenth century, believed nature to be “pleased with simplicity” and “conformable to herself.” Charles Darwin brought forward a different view, one wherein nature is capricious or random in its development. “Chance caught on a wing” is the way one scientist has phrased evolutionary development. In their study of nature, contemporary scientists, using the mathematical tools of nonlinear dynamics and the power of supercomputers, posit that nature is in ...