Science, because It is complex, is seen by different philosophers of science in incompatible
ways. However, what they are examining are not different and contradictory theories, but
different levels of the complex system we call science. Each level has it's own autonomy and
requires its own treatment. As a result Skeptical philosophers recognize that the actions of the
individual scientist must not be constrained by a fixed set of rules, that strict definitions of what
is and is not science, if held to dogmatically at the individual level, will inevitably restrict thp
growth of science.
By the same token, Demarcationists recognize that some clear guide lines are needed in order to separate scientific activity from pseudo-scientific ln clear and unambiguous terms. They recognize that it is because science is different, that scientific theories have been tested against physical systems and that they form a coherent whole, that science has been successful.
And Elitists too, by recognizing that criteria of demarcation include in articulated knowledge, and that any criteria that is of value can only be properly understood by the scientists who use it. They recognize that scientific criteria are created by scientists, and that they are part of Popper's pragmatic third world of reality.
Because these three views are the result of looking at science from each of three levels. of a complex system, some understanding of the characteristics of complexity is required to fully appreciate the inter-level interactions that have made science the success that lt has been. At the lowest level, we have the normal activity of the working scientist, that of solving real problems, either theoretical or practical. For this he can accept no absolute rules, yet he must have firm guide-lines, or else he will waste time on activities that will lead toward falsi science, such as the kind of eclecticism used by people like Von Danniken or Velikovski.
The point here is that there is a difference between what science is and the kind of activities those people engage in. That difference is the set of attitudes, theories and methods that scientists in general consider acceptable. These are the scientific paradigm, a pragmatic third world construct the elements of which have proved themselves by passing severe tests in the first world of physical reality and which represent scientists best estimate of autonomous third world concepts that are denied their direct access.
lt is these paradigms which act as the criteria of science. They constrain the activities of the scientists to increase the freedom of science. At the same time these paradigms emerge out of the activities of working scientists by formalizing their successes. The normal activities of scientists add continuously to the growth of paradigms. Also, through this normal activity, scientific paradigms exhibit periodic abrupt and drastic changes.
This is what I call a paradigmatic complexity. A special brand of complex system developed out of the activities of a breed of investigators who have a keen interest in the realities behind the physical world. These investigators devote their lives to solving puzzles through the use of scientific principles, the methods, theories, and attitudes of a scientific paradigm.
There is a very important difference between this and previous views of science. Those views that have stressed the differences between science and other kinds of human enterprise inevitably did so by constricting science, by eliminating activities that may prove critical to science ln the future. Those who have stressed anarchy fail to see the role critical analysis plays in the growth of science. Those who claim the privilege of setting scientific guide lines run the risk of dangerous authoritarianism. The only description that illustrates the proper role of each of these is a description which treats science as the result of the dynamic interactions of those who consider themselves scientists. By describing science as a special kind of complex system, paradigmatic complexity meets these requirements.