In classical theories of cognition, an Observer had to provide cognition himself. He might face a highly complex, partly intransparent world. For him, there could be religious reasons that set limits to his Curiosity. [⇒ Limits to Curiosity]

This was still the thinking in the 17th century. At the same time techniques of mathematical idealization appeared, which guaranteed themselves the solvability of their tasks and left at most the problem that the real world deviated from what the mathematics or the ideal typical constructions provided.

Thus, real people do not act according to the principles that theories of rational choice impute to them, and the actual development of the economy does not necessarily follow the systems of equations of neoclassical doctrine.

However, this provocation, this self-irritation of observers by deviant behavior of reality could be brought back into theory and taken as a stimulus for continuous improvement of theories and instruments.

The invention of the electronic calculation machines has improved this cognition technique again enormously. Above all, it has made it possible to simulate time sequences; and in the resulting theory of dynamic systems, it has led to the fact that the researcher can surprise himself already by his own models. Even in simulation, systems behave in ways that the designer of these models cannot predict. The unpredictability is included, so to speak. And then, of course, it can no longer be surprising that the real systems also behave unpredictably. Model calculation and reality now converge, it seems, in the Prediction of Unpredictability.


The relationships. The Paths. The available Choices and Patterns.

The book discussed in the preceding contributions [in: *Sinn, Kommunikation und soziale Differenzierung* (Meaning, Communication and Social Differentiation)] makes the proposal to sociology to adopt the concept of Autopoiesis and thus to gain a more profound theory of self-referential systems that also includes elementary operations.