Uncertainty and Fuzzy thinkingUncertainty has the meaning of interaction between different options and alternatives. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, a problem cannot be solved at the level of thinking at which, and with the same culture by which, it was created or perceived Karl Popper wrote that “all science rests upon shifting sand” and Anthony Giddens affirmed that “in science, nothing is certain, and nothing can be proved, even if scientific endeavour provides us with the most dependable information about the world to which we can aspire”.
Uncertainty is the natural home of dialogic principles which bring together complementary or antagonistic assumptions (e.g. conservation, revolution, resistance).
Uncertainty is the expression of circularity, feed back, complementary, wholeness, solidarity, holism, etc.
Nowadays it is clear that human beings perceive reality as they think of reality. As demonstrated by a well known piece of Pirandello: “Così è se vi pare” (reality is what you think it is). Reality is in fact a dialogic concept: the factual reality can be unreal (future change can overturn what was thought to be true); unreality can be real (when what was thought as unreal or false, or maybe the expression of madness, is revealed to be true in later time).
The positive utilisation of uncertainty increases the capacity to deal with complexity, to analyse and solve problems by understanding:
- the relativity of science and knowledge
- different cultures and knowledge, old and new
- the limits of “objective” realities
- the dialogical relation between concepts and notions which seem to be contradictory or opposite
- the limits of the tendency towards reductionism that take into consideration only quantifiable, measurable and formalised phenomena
- the nested dynamics of a system where parts depend upon the whole, as well as vice versa unity within and between diversities as well as diversities within what seems to be united
- the simultaneous existence of three times, the present of the past, the present of the present and the present of the future (from the old saying of S. Agostino)
- the connection between local and global dimensions
- the necessity to contextualise and to globalise knowledge and actions
The concepts of Fuzzy thinking, introduced by Bart Kosko and Lofti Zadech, contribute to the positive utilisation of uncertainty.
Fuzzy means soft and like fur, blurred outline and shape, not clearly defined, indistinct and vague. The yin-yang symbol can be assumed as the emblem of fuzzy logic. It represents contradictions and unity of opposites. Nothing is absolute, there is not dichotomy but continuity within an on-going holistic process. There is not rigid logic but flexibility, various point of views at the same time. There is tolerance, dialectics and compassion as it is defined in the Buddhist literature: clear acceptance or recognition of the other, like oneself, development of concern about the others, irrespective of one’s attitude to oneself.