Can the Intellectual Processes in Science Also Be Simulated? (preprint version)

Loet Leydesdorff loet at LEYDESDORFF.NET
Tue Apr 21 01:51:54 EDT 2015

 <> Can the Intellectual Processes in Science
Also Be Simulated? 
The Anticipation and Visualization of Possible Future States


Socio-cognitive action reproduces and changes both social and cognitive
structures. The analytical distinction between these dimensions of structure
provides us with richer models of scientific development. In this study, I
assume that (i) social structures organize expectations into belief
structures that can be attributed to individuals and communities; (ii)
expectations are specified in scholarly literature; and (iii) intellectually
the sciences (disciplines, specialties) tend to self-organize as systems of
rationalized expectations. Whereas social organizations remain localized,
academic writings can circulate, and expectations can be stabilized and
globalized using symbolically generalized codes of communication. The
intellectual restructuring, however, remains latent as a second-order
dynamics that can be accessed by participants only reflexively. Yet, the
emerging "horizons of meaning" provide feedback to the historically
developing organizations by constraining the possible future states as
boundary conditions. I propose to model these possible future states using
incursive and hyper-incursive equations from the computation of anticipatory
systems. Simulations of these equations enable us to visualize the couplings
among the historical--i.e., recursive--progression of social structures
along trajectories, the evolutionary--i.e., hyper-incursive--development of
systems of expectations at the regime level, and the incursive
instantiations of expectations in actions, organizations, and texts.


Preprint version is now available at 


** apologies for cross-postings



Loet Leydesdorff 

Emeritus University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

 <mailto:loet at> loet at ;
Honorary Professor,  <> SPRU, University of

Guest Professor  <> Zhejiang Univ., Hangzhou;
Visiting Professor,  <> ISTIC,

Visiting Professor,  <> Birkbeck, University of London;



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