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📙 Integrative Problem-Solving in a Time of Decadence by George Christakos (auth.) — free pdf


This book presents a unique study of Integrative Problem-Solving (IPS) during the current phase of 'Decadence' that characterizes every societal aspect (science, education, politics, economics, and culture). It is distinctive in that it integrates sophisticated mathematics and scientific method with philosophical thinking and sociological analysis. IPS is based on a theory of Epibraimatics that fuses epistemic ideas and principles from brain sciences to develop action-based mathematics for the solution of real world problems under conditions of uncertainty and space-time dependency. To understand IPS concepts and methods, a scientist must be able to consider them from different perspectives (including neuropsychology, physical sciences, philosophy, stochastics, and mathematics), and to interpret and connect them to related concepts and methods. Only by interpolating between the full range of disciplines and the associated thinking styles can scientists arrive at a satisfactory account of problem-solving. In higher education and research one witnesses what the book terms the “unholy alliance of financial corporatism and radical postmodernism” (undermining tradition, knowledge, language, and achievements of the past; promoting nihilism, and seeking to satisfy lower needs). The consideration of 'Decadence' in the book is essential in the realistic study of environmental problems and their rigorous solution, because the broad context within which the problems emerge can affect their solution. A set of conceptual postulates and the corresponding mathematical operators are introduced. The postulates have an evolutionary flavor, i.e., they evolve as new core knowledge and site-specific data become available. IPS should not only focus on how a solution works (operational component), but also on why the solution works (substantive component). Stochastic reasoning underlines the conceptual and methodological framework of IPS, and its formulation has a mathematical life of its own that accounts for the multidisciplinarity of in situ problems, the multisourced uncertainties characterizing their solution, and the different thinking modes of the people involved. IPS must be able to distinguish between a scientifically rigorous problem-solution and a solution that has social impact. Problem-solvers should not be isolated within the strict boundaries of technical expertise but possess a wide educational background and constant awareness of the broad environment (social, political, economic, and cultural) within which they operate. In this way they can be more valuable to their scientific fields and more useful to the public, as well. This book will appeal to readers in a wide variety of disciplines, including environmental science, health-related disciplines, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, and sociology.



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