Multiplicity and Divergence Challenge the Social Sciences (Gold medal)

Author: Phillips, Fred
Almanac: Kondratieff waves:The Spectrum of Opinions

Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Directors of the International N. D. Kondratieff Foundation, and members of the jury, thank you for this wonderful honor. There are many more to whom I want to express my deepest gratitude – following a few remarks about current challenges to the social sciences.

We are living in a world of multiples: multiple products, multiple industries, multiple careers, multiple cultures, multiple stakeholders, and multiple connections (Phillips 2008). Fukuyama's (1993) prediction of the end of history was too simplistic. Human societies are both converging and diverging. Ashby's Law (1956) implies that these multiplicities – which constantly re-arrange themselves – cannot be researched through a single analytic lens. On the contrary, we need multiple perspectives, as advocated by our mentor Harold Linstone (2010).