This project (2020-1-SE01-KA203-077872) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Sociology and Philosophy of Complex Systems

Admission Requirements
Bachelor’s degree in one of the areas of the humanities, or in other fields, including the hard sciences, if accompanied by a strong curiosity and interest in crossing borders to gain knowledge and experience in areas not previously explored.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, students are expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes:


  • An interdisciplinary and systemic approach to research, study, work, and socio-cultural relations
  • Awareness of their own roles as observers/participants in the complex systems they are both analyzing and inhabiting
  • Sufficient knowledge and self-awareness to avoid embarking on the obsessive search for usefulness and concreteness pervading academic learning today;


  • Fully developed capacity to become hybrid figures, capable of both logic and creativity
  • Ability to envision objects as systems
  • Capacity for actions, initiatives and a correct and accurate use of transdisciplinary instruments for circumventing the grand illusions of the hypertechnological civilization, (the first four being control, rationality, measurability, and predictability), with special emphasis on the fifth and most insidious illusion, that of the elimination of error;


  • Competency in identifying the connections, interactions and interdependencies in complex (living) systems, between units, subunits, ecosystems and surroundings
  • Competency in interpreting data and recognizing the methodological implications
  • Capacity for formulating assessments in a fully autonomous manner through critical thinking
  • Competency in formulating logical and coherent arguments on the topics from an interdisciplinary perspective, and
  • Through critical thinking, reasoning and insight, competency in defining possible solutions and anticipating new problems.


Brief description and motivation - The course will reconstruct the controversies and scientific debate on complexity and complex systems (with a focus on social and life systems) and on the factors determining the passage to hypercomplexity from an interdisciplinary perspective, with special emphasis on unpredictability, in particular the unpredictability and uncertainty inherent to the human factor in social worlds.

Course content:

  1. Historical description of the scientific awareness gradually acquired on the implications of complexity, hierarchical systems and the capacities for self-organization and emergence inherent to all biological, physical, human and social complex adaptive systems (CAS).
  2. Demonstration of the inadequacy of defining reality through mathematical formulas or sets of rules, as had previously been used.
  3. Analysis and working definition of social complexity and “hypercomplexity".
  4. Introduction of the concept of the “overturn”: today biological evolution is being determined by cultural evolution.
  5. Application of epistemological methods for teaching and training students to undertake a systemic approach, engage in systems thinking and understand the full implications of the “observer/participant” and of qualitative factors.
  6. Reconceptualization of the relationship between education and technology / technology and culture / innovation and culture: the role of educational processes is not simply that of adapting to or extending technological changes; technology is part of culture, while innovating means destabilizing, at least temporarily; innovation without culture will simply become a would-be innovation;
  7. Exploration of techniques for including error, uncertainty and unpredictability, conflict and debate in education, training hybrid figures capable of intersecting inter/multi/transdisciplinary fields of knowledge.
  8. Discussion of the evidence that managing complexity is impossible, and exploration of the means for learning to inhabit complexity instead.


Dominici, P. The weak link of democracy and the challenges of educating toward global citizenship. Prospects (2022). UNESCO

Springer Nature

The Digital Mockingbird: Anthropological Transformation and the “New Nature”, in World Futures.The Journal of New Paradigm, Routhledge, Taylor & Francis, Feb. 2022.  

Link to Pdf

”Beyond the Darkness of our Age. For a Non-Mechanistic View of Complex Organization as Living Organisms” in RTSA

”From Below: Roots and Grassroots of Societal Transformation, The Social Construction of Change”, in CADMUS, 2021         

”Educating for the Future in the Age of Obsolescence”,

For an Inclusive Innovation. Healing the fracture between the Human and the technological*”  #PeerReviewed

“Objects as Systems. The strategic role of Education”

A New Paradigm in Global Higher Education for Sustainable Development and Human Security”, November, 2021 | BY G.JACOBS, J. RAMANATHAN, R. WOLFF, R.PRICOPIE, P.DOMINICI, A.ZUCCONI, in CADMUS, Vol.IV, 2021.

8”Controversies on hypercomplexity and on education in the hypertechnological era”

Teaching Methodology

The course will be held in English and will consist of:

  • Classroom lectures (in extreme cases these may be given remotely)
  • Face-to-face debates
  • Seminars
  • Laboratory and practical training on systems thinking
  • Opportunities to participate in transdisciplinary seminars with speakers and discussion leaders from other areas.

ECTS Credits
7.5 ECTS credits

2nd Semester - Social Humanities

Examination methodology
Oral examinations and debate


It is becoming more and more urgent to educate a class of “hybrid figures”, capable of overturning the concepts of educational, formative, and skill-related processes, and of reuniting the “false dichotomies” between fields of knowledge common to education and training that reinforce the new asymmetries and inequalities emerging today. It is furthermore of great importance for new generations of students to recognize and understand the “great mistake” we are currently making in our attitude to technology in general and digital technology in particular, to resist the ongoing reversion toward linear and deterministic thinking, and to accept and welcome the vital and dynamic unpredictability of the complex systems which form our world.

New Course
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