I relate plural quantification, and predicate logic where predicates do not need a fixed number of argument places, to the part-whole relation. For more on these themes see later work by Boolos, Lewis, and Oliver & Smiley.
The aim of this work is to study complex ecological models exhibiting simple dynamics. We consider large scale systems which can be decomposed into weakly coupled subsystems. Perturbation Theory is used in order to get a reduced set of differential equations governing slow time varying global variables. As examples, we study the influence of the individual behaviour of animals in competition and predator-prey models. The animals are assumed to do many activities all day long such as searching for food (...) of different types. The degree of competition as well as the predation pressure are dependent upon these activities. Preys are more vulnerable when doing some activities during which they are very exposed to predators attacks rather than for others during which they are hidden. We study the effect of a change in the average individual behaviour of the animals on interspecific relationships. Computer simulations of the whole sets of equations are compared to simulations of the reduced sets of equations. (shrink)
A wide range of ecological and evolutionary models predict variety in phenotype or behavior when a population is at equilibrium. This heterogeneity can be realized in different ways. For example, it can be realized through a complex population of individuals exhibiting different simple behaviors, or through a simple population of individuals exhibiting complex, varying behaviors. In some theoretical frameworks these different realizations are treated as equivalent, but natural selection distinguishes between these two alternatives in subtle ways. (...) By investigating an increasingly complex series of models, from a simple fluctuating selection model up to a finite population hawk/dove game, we explore the selective pressures which discriminate between pure strategists, mixed at the population level, and individual mixed strategists. Our analysis reveals some important limitations to the ESS framework often employed to investigate the evolution of complex behavior. (shrink)
The relationship between individuals’ creativity and their ethical ideologies appears to be complex. Applying Forsyth’s (1980, 1992) personal moral philosophy model which consists of two independent ethical ideology dimensions, idealism and relativism, we hypothesized and found support for a positive relationship between creativity and relativism. It appears that creative people are less likely than non-creative people to follow universal rules in their moral decision making. However, contrary to our hypothesis and the general stereotype that creative people are less (...) caring about others, we found a positive relationship between creativity and idealism. These findings indicate that highly creative people are likely to be what Forsyth called “situationists,” individuals with both an ethic of caring and a pragmatic moral decision-making style. The finding that creative individuals tend to be situationists, and particularly that they tend to be high in idealism, appears to refute the line of reasoning that argues for a “creative personality” characterized in part by social insensitivity. Understanding the relationship between creativity and ethical ideologies has important implications for researchers, managers and teachers. (shrink)
Perceptual tasks such as object matching, mammogram interpretation, mental rotation, and satellite imagery change detection often require the assignment of correspondences to fuse information across views. We apply techniques developed for machine translation to the gaze data recorded from a complex perceptual matching task modeled after fingerprint examinations. The gaze data provide temporal sequences that the machine translation algorithm uses to estimate the subjects' assumptions of corresponding regions. Our results show that experts and novices have similar surface behavior, such (...) as the number of fixations made or the duration of fixations. However, the approach applied to data from experts is able to identify more corresponding areas between two prints. The fixations that are associated with clusters that map with high probability to corresponding locations on the other print are likely to have greater utility in a visual matching task. These techniques address a fundamental problem in eye tracking research with perceptual matching tasks: Given that the eyes always point somewhere, which fixations are the most informative and therefore are likely to be relevant for the comparison task? (shrink)
Individuals who disagree that organizational interests legitimately supersede those of the wider society may experience conflict between their personal standards of ethics and those demanded by an employing organization, a conflict that is well documented. An additional question is whether or not individuals capable of complex moral reasoning experience greater conflict than those reasoning at a less developed level. This question was first positioned in a theoretical framework and then investigated using 115 survey responses from a student (...) sample. Correlational analysis and hierarchical regression indicated that individuals scoring high on the Defining Issues Test measure of Kohlberg's stages of moral development experienced significantly greater workplace ethical conflict than low scorers. The finding that complex moral reasoners perceive greater conflict between their personal standards and typical organizational demands raises the issue of what reasoning orientation is rewarded in organizations. Individuals capable of complex moral reasoning may be likely to leave traditional organizations due to high conflict but more ethically friendly organizations for complex reasoners seem unlikely unless these people occupy influential positions. (shrink)
Intense scientific work on HIV/AIDS has led to the development of effective combination drug therapies and there is hope that effective vaccines will soon be produced. However, the majority of people with HIV/AIDS in the world are not benefiting from such advances because of extreme poverty. This article focuses on the pandemic as a reflection of a complex trajectory of social and economic forces that create widening global disparities in wealth and health and concomitant ecological niches for the emergence (...) of new infectious diseases. While the biomedical approach to HIV/AIDS is necessary, has prolonged the lives of many individuals and could offer much at the level of population health, it cannot, in isolation, improve the health of populations. To achieve the latter will require understanding and addressing the deeper social causes of pandemics. Broadening the discourse on ethics to include public health ethics and the ethics of international relations could contribute to reducing the impact of the pandemic and to preventing the emergence of new infectious diseases in the future. (shrink)
In this book Haridimos Tsoukas, one of the most imaginative organization theorists of our time, examines the nature of knowledge in organizations, and how individuals and scholars approach the concept of knowledge. -/- Tsoukas firstly looks at organizational knowledge and its embeddedness in social contexts and forms of life. He shows that knowledge is not just a collection of free floating representations of the world to be used at will, but an activity constitutive of the world. On the one (...) hand the organization as an institutionalized system does produce regularities that can can be captured via propositional forms of knowledge. On the other, the organization as practice, as a lifeworld, or as an open-ended system produce stories, values, and shared traditions which can only be captured by narrative forms of knowledge. -/- Secondly, Tsoukas looks at the issue of how individuals deal with the notion of complexity in organizations: Our inability to reduce the behaviour of complex organizations to their constituent parts. Drawing on concepts such as discourse, narrativity, and reflexivity, he adopts a hermeneutical approach to the issue. -/- Finally Tsoukas examines the concept of meta-knowledge, and how we know what we know. Arguing that the underlying representationalist epistemology of much of mainstream management causes many problems, he advocates adopting a more discursive approach. He describes what such an epistemology might be, and illustrates it with examples from organization studies and strategic management. -/- An ideal introduction to the thinking of a leading organizational theorist, this book will be essential reading for academics, researchers, and students of Knowledge Management, Organization Studies, Management Studies, Business Strategy, and Applied Epistemology. (shrink)
A wide range of ecological and evolutionary models predict variety in phenotype or behavior when a population is at equilibrium. This heterogeneity can be realized in different ways. For example, it can be realized through a complex population of individuals exhibiting different simple behaviors, or through a simple population of individuals exhibiting complex, varying behaviors. In some theoretical frameworks these different realizations are treated as equivalent, but natural selection distinguishes between these two alternatives in subtle ways. (...) By investigating an increasingly complex series of models, from a simple ﬂuctuating selection model up to a ﬁnite population hawk/dove game, we explore the selective pressures which discriminate between pure strategists, mixed at the population level, and individual mixed strategists. Our analysis reveals some important limitations to the “ESS” framework often employed to investigate the evolution of complex behavior. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to elucidate the mereological structure of complex states of affairs without relying on the problematic notion of structural universals. For this task tools from graph theory, lattice theory, and the theory of relational systems are employed. Our starting point is the mereology of similarity structures. Since similarity structures are structured sets, their mereology can be considered as a generalization of the mereology of sets ...
Main principles of the complex nonlinear thinking which are based on the notions of the modern theory of evolution and self-organization of complex systems called also synergetics are under discussion in this article. The principles are transdisciplinary, holistic, and oriented to a human being. The notions of system complexity, nonlinearity of evolution, creative chaos, space-time definiteness of structure-attractors of evolution, resonant influences, nonlinear and soft management are here of great importance. In this connection, a prominent contribution made to (...) system analysis and to a necessary reform of education and thinking by Edgar Morin is considered. (shrink)
A principle is born: the Granovetter study -- Why do we like networks? -- Network stability -- Weak links as stabilizers of complex systems -- Atoms, molecules, and macromolecules -- Weak links and cellular stability -- Weak links and the stability of organisms -- Social nets -- Networks of human culture -- The global web -- The Ecoweb -- Conclusions and perspectives.
Owing to intensive development of the theory of self-organization of complex systems called also synergetics, profound changes in our notions of time occur. Whereas at the beginning of the 20th century, natural sciences, by picking up the general spirit of Einstein's theory of relativity, consider a geometrization as an ideal, i.e. try to represent time and force interactions through space and the changes of its properties, nowadays, at the beginning of the 21st century, time turns to be in the (...) focus of attention. It turns to be possible to represent space through time, because synergetics shows that historical and evolutionary stages of development of a complex structure can be found now, in its present spatial configuration. A whole series of paradoxical notions, such as “the influence of the future upon the present”, a “possibility of touching of a rather remote future today”, “availability of the past and the future now, in praesenti”, “irreversibility and elements of reversibility in the course of evolutionary processes in time”, “discrete unites, quanta of time”, appear in synergetics. (shrink)
Complex systems research is becoming ever more important in both the natural and social sciences. It is commonly implied that there is such a thing as a complex system, different examples of which are studied across many disciplines. However, there is no concise definition of a complex system, let alone a definition on which all scientists agree. We review various attempts to characterize a complex system, and consider a core set of features that are widely associated (...) with complex systems in the literature and by those in the field. We argue that some of these features are neither necessary nor sufficient for complexity, and that some of them are too vague or confused to be of any analytical use. In order to bring mathematical rigour to the issue we then review some standard measures of complexity from the scientific literature, and offer a taxonomy for them, before arguing that the one that best captures the qualitative notion of the order produced by complex systems is that of the Statistical Complexity. Finally, we offer our own list of necessary conditions as a characterization of complexity. These conditions are qualitative and may not be jointly sufficient for complexity. We close with some suggestions for future work. (shrink)
What enables individually simple insects like ants to act with such precision and purpose as a group? How do trillions of individual neurons produce something as extraordinarily complex as consciousness? What is it that guides self-organizing structures like the immune system, the World Wide Web, the global economy, and the human genome? These are just a few of the fascinating and elusive questions that the science of complexity seeks to answer. In this remarkably accessible and companionable book, leading (...) class='Hi'>complex systems scientist Melanie Mitchell provides an intimate, detailed tour of the sciences of complexity, a broad set of efforts that seek to explain how large-scale complex, organized, and adaptive behavior can emerge from simple interactions among myriad individuals. Comprehending such systems requires a wholly new approach, one that goes beyond traditional scientific reductionism and that re-maps long-standing disciplinary boundaries. Based on her work at the Santa Fe Institute and drawing on its interdisciplinary strategies, Mitchell brings clarity to the workings of complexity across a broad range of biological, technological, and social phenomena, seeking out the general principles or laws that apply to all of them. She explores as well the relationship between complexity and evolution, artificial intelligence, computation, genetics, information processing, and many other fields. Richly illustrated and vividly written, Complexity: A Guided Tour offers a comprehensive and eminently comprehensible overview of the ideas underlying complex systems science, the current research at the forefront of this field, and the prospects for the field's contribution to solving some of the most important scientific questions of our time. (shrink)
The general question to be considered in this paper points to the nature of the world described by chemistry: what is macro-chemical ontology like? In particular, we want to identify the ontological categories that underlie chemical discourse and chemical practice. This is not an easy task, because modern Western metaphysics was strongly modeled by theoretical physics. For this reason, we attempt to answer our question by contrasting macro-chemical ontology with the mainstream ontology of physics and of traditional metaphysics. In particular, (...) we introduce the distinction between stuff-ontology, proper of chemistry, and individual-ontology, proper of physics. These two ontologies differ from each other in the basic categories of their own structures. On this basis, we characterize individual-ontology in such a way that the features of stuff-ontology will arise by contrast with it. (shrink)
The predominant interpretation of Wittgenstein's later remarks on religion takes him to hold that all religious utterances are non-scientific, and to hold that the way to show that religious utterances are non-scientific is to identify and characterise the grammatical rules governing their use. This paper claims that though this does capture one strand of Wittgenstein's later thought on religion, there is an alternative strand of that thought which is quite different and more nuanced. In this alternative strand Wittgenstein stresses that (...) religious utterances and beliefs can come in both scientific and non-scientific varieties. More than that, he claims that the grammar of religious utterances, and the logic of religious beliefs, is often complex – in that individual utterances and beliefs will often be mixed between, indeterminate between, or fluid between being scientific and being non-scientific. This complexity means that it will often be unhelpful to try to pin down one particular grammar or logic for a given utterance or belief. Wittgenstein therefore suggests a new method of grammatical and logical investigation, which is less likely to distort complex grammars or logics by being overly simplistic or rigid. This method is to use simple examples of utterances and beliefs as objects of comparison, so as to illuminate the different aspects of the more complex actual utterances and beliefs under examination. This alternative strand in Wittgenstein's later remarks on religion is a manifestation of a broader strand of Wittgenstein's later thought as a whole, which was first described by Friedrich Waismann, and later developed by Gordon Baker and Oskari Kuusela. The paper concludes by providing examples of religious beliefs which are logically mixed, indeterminate, and fluid, and showing how simple objects of comparison can be used to illuminate them. (shrink)
Our aim in the present paper is to approach the nature of life from the perspective of autonomy, showing that this perspective can be helpful for overcoming the traditional Cartesian gap between the physical and cognitive domains. We first argue that, although the phenomenon of life manifests itself as highly complex and multidimensional, requiring various levels of description, individual organisms constitute the core of this multifarious phenomenology. Thereafter, our discussion focuses on the nature of the organization of individual living (...) entities, proposing autonomy as the main concept to grasp it. In the second part of the article we show how autonomy is also fundamental to explaining major evolutionary transitions, in an attempt to rethink evolution from the point of view of the organizational structure of the entities/organisms involved. This gives further support to the idea of autonomy not only as a key to understanding life in general but also the complex expressions of it that we observe on our planet. Finally, we suggest a possible general principle that underlies those evolutionary transitions, which allow for the open-ended redefinition of autonomous systems: namely, the relative dynamic decoupling that must be articulated among distinct parts, modules or modes of operation in these systems. (shrink)
Theories of intergenerational obligations usually take the shape of theories of distributive (social) justice. The complexities involved in intergenerational obligations force theorists to simplify. In this article I unpack two popular simplifications: the inevitability of future generations, and the Hardinesque assumption that future individuals are a burden on society but a benefit to parents. The first assumption obscures the fact that future generations consist of individuals whose existence can be a matter of voluntary choice, implying that there are (...)individuals who are responsible and accountable for that choice and for its consequences. The second assumption ignores the fact that the benefits and burdens of future individuals are complex, and different for different “beneficiaries” or “victims.” Introducing individual responsibility for procreation as a (crucially) relevant variable, and allowing a more sophisticated understanding of the impact of new individuals, generates grounds to prioritize the individual’s interest in responsibility for (creating and equipping) future individuals over any collective intergenerational obligation. I illustrate this by introducing a series of moral duties that take precedence over, and perhaps even void, possible collective redistributive duties. (shrink)
The new science of Complexity explains that limited knowledge prevents societies from predicting and controlling their developments. But Complexity further suggests that nature uses the limits of knowledge to evolve, which turns an apparent obstacle into an opportunity to reevaluate governmental institutions. As in nature, the limits of knowledge lead social systems to evolve by individuating, liberating, and empowering their members. Societies individuate and liberate their members to probe environments and exploit opportunities. Societies empower individuals to globalize their findings (...) which requires constitutionally constraining governmental powers. Societies that respect human rights thus gain selective advantage. Showing that what nature is models what societies ought to be, Complexity may finesse the "naturalistic fallacy" of Hume and Moore. (shrink)
This paper applies theory and research examining errors in complex organizational systems to the problem of individual and collective morality in organizations. It is proposed that because of the nature of complex organizations, unjust outcomes can (and will) result from organizational actions even when all organization members have acted responsibly. The argument that complex organizations are therefore immoral is considered and rejected. Instead, the paper argues that morality in complex organizations begins with "heedful interrelating" among individual (...) organization members. The paper concludes with a discussion of organizational processes and structures that promote heedful interrelating. (shrink)
This article is devoted to the significant at all times and sounding anew in every epoch problem of the role of an individual (also a Hero, Great Man) in history, including such an aspect as the role of an individual in the process of state formation and progress. It is argued that in the age of globalization, when the humankind has found itself at the new developmental turning point, in the epoch when the influence of various individuals could affect (...) dramatically the further development of the whole world, there is an urgent necessity to return to the analysis of this issue. In the first part of this article the history of views on this problem from the antiquity to contemporary counterfactual history is considered. In the second part the author aims at presenting the complex of factors affecting the role of individuals as a conceptual system. He suggests that depending on various conditions and circumstances and with the account of specific features of historical place and time and personal characteristics, the historical role of an individual may fluctuate from the absolutely invisible up to the greatest one. A conclusion is made that the weaker and less stable is a society, the more destroyed are the old structures, the greater may be the personality's impact. In other words, the role of an individual is inversely correlated with society's stability and strength. The paper presents the model which includes four society’s state phases: 1) stable society of the monarchic type; 2) social pre-revolutionary crisis; 3) revolution; 4) creation of a new order. It is shown that a personality's greatest influence is observed at the third and fourth stages while at the first stage the influence is usually considerably weaker. (shrink)
Summary: The evolution of complex societies began when agricultural subsistence systems raised human population densities to levels that would support large scale cooperation, and division of labor. All agricultural origins sequences postdate 11,500 years ago probably because late Pleistocene climates we extremely variable, dry, and the atmosphere was low in carbon dioxide. Under such conditions, agriculture was likely impossible. However, the tribal scale societies of the Pleistocene did acquire, by geneculture coevolution, tribal social instincts that simultaneously enable and constrain (...) the evolution of complex societies. Once agriculture became possible, a competitive ratchet drove further improvements in subsistence and in scale of social organization . Those societies that grew and became better organized were advantaged in individual wealth and economic and military power, and tended to conquer, absorb, or be imitated by smaller and less well organized societies. Internal competitors for power espousing useful social innovations could deliver improved returns when their quest was successful. Notwithstanding the ratchet, social complexity increased only slowly in the first half of the Holocene and even afterwards few periods except the past two centuries saw changes that were dramatic on the scale of individual lifetimes. We attempt a taxonomy of the processes that regulate rates of institutional evolution, cause reversals of complexity against the ratchet, and impose historical contingency on institutional evolution. (shrink)
Individuals are a prominent part of the biological world. Although biologists and philosophers of biology draw freely on the concept of an individual in articulating both widely accepted and more controversial claims, there has been little explicit work devoted to the biological notion of an individual itself. How should we think about biological individuals? What are the roles that biological individuals play in processes such as natural selection (are genes and groups also units of selection?), speciation (are (...) species individuals?), and organismic development (do genomes code for organisms)? Much of our discussion here will focus on organisms as a central kind of biological individual, and that discussion will raise broader questions about the nature of the biological world, for example, about its complexity, its organization, and its relation to human thought. (shrink)
Dienes & Perner present a hierarchical model that addresses the nature – implicit versus explicit – of knowledge in areas as diverse as learning, memory, and visual perception. This framework appears difficult to apply to complex situations, such as those involving implicit learning, because of the indeterminacy that remains regarding knowledge at the low-level in the hierarchy. These reservations should not detract from the positive features of this model. Among its other advantages, it is well adapted to priming phenomena (...) in which the information responsible for the individual's behavior can be precisely defined. (shrink)
Dusky groupers ( Epinephelus marginatus ) are characterized by a complex sex allocation strategies and overexploitation of bigger individuals. We developed an individual based model to investigate the long-term effects of density dependence on grouper population dynamics and to analyze the variabilities of extinction probabilities as a result of interacting mortalities at different life stages. We conduct several simulations with different forms of sex allocation functions and different combinations of mortality rates. The model was parametrized using data on (...) dusky grouper populations from the literature. The most important insights produced by this simulation study are that density dependence of sex allocation is an evolutionarily stable strategy, increases the population biomass, mitigates the effect of the removal of large male and indicates a need for protection of females and flexible stages. (shrink)
Clinical ethicists encounter the most emotionally eviscerating medical cases possible. They struggle to facilitate resolutions founded on good reasoning embedded in compassionate care. This book fills the considerable gap between current texts and the continuing educational needs of those actually facing complex ethics consultations in hospital settings. 28 richly detailed cases explore the ethical reasoning, professional issues, and the emotional aspects of these impossibly difficult consultations. The cases are grouped together by theme to aid teaching, discussion and professional growth. (...) The cases inform any reader who has a keen interest in the choices made in real-life medical dilemmas as well as the emotional cost to those who work to improve the situations. On a more advanced level, this book should be read by ethics committee members who participate in ethics consultations, individual ethics consultants, clinicians who seek education about complex clinical ethics cases, and bioethics students. (shrink)
Although the beliefs, preferences, and constraints (BPC) model may account for individuals independently making simple decisions, it becomes less useful the more complex the social setting and the decisions themselves become. Perhaps rather than seek to unify their field under one model, behavioral scientists could explore when and why the BPC model generally applies versus fails to apply as a null hypothesis. (Published Online April 27 2007).
Is native speaker variation in understanding complex sentences due to individual differences in working memory capacity or in syntactic competence? The answer to this question has very important consequences for both theoretical and applied concerns in linguistics and education. This book is distinctive in giving an historical and interdisciplinary perspective on the rule- based and experience-based debate and in supporting an integrated account. In the study reported here, variation was found to be due to differences in syntactic competence and (...) the author argues that sentence comprehension is a learned skill, displaying many of the general characteristics of cognitive skills. The book will be stimulating reading for psycholinguists, theoretical linguists, applied linguists and educators. (shrink)
The Complex-First Paradox consists in a set of collectively incompatible but individually well-confirmed propositions that regard the evolution, development, and cortical realization of the meanings of concrete nouns. Although these meanings are acquired earlier than those of other word classes, they are semantically more complex and their cortical realizations more widely distributed. For a neurally implemented syntaxsemantics interface, it should thus take more effort to establish a link between a concept and its lexical expression. However, in ontogeny and (...) phylogeny, capabilities demanding more effort, ceteris paribus, develop and evolve later than those demanding less effort. The paradox points to an explanatory deficit in linguistic theory. (shrink)
We explain the thesis that human mental states are ontologically emergent aspects of a fundamentally biological organism. We then explore the consequences of this thesis for the identity of a human person over time. As these consequences are not obviously independent of one's general ontology of objects and their properties, we consider four such accounts: transcendent universals, kind-Aristotelianism, immanent universals, and tropes. We suggest there are reasons for emergentists to favor the latter two accounts. We then argue that within such (...) ontologies, emergentism about properties pushes one to the stronger claim that there are emergent individuals, though not individuals which are dual to person's bodies—substance emergentism, but not substance dualism. (shrink)
Introduction to complexity and complex systems -- Introduction to large linear systems -- Introduction to biochemical oscillators and nonlinear biochemical systems -- Modularity, redundancy, degeneracy, pleiotropy and robustness in complex biological systems -- The evolution of biological complexity; invertebrate immune systems -- Irreducible and specified complexity in living systems -- The complex adaptive and innate human immune systems -- Complexity in quasispecies : microRNAs -- Introduction to complexity in economic systems -- Complexity in quasispecies : micrornas -- (...) Dealing with complexity. (shrink)
Some theorists who emphasize the complexity of biological and cognitive systems and who advocate the employment of the tools of dynamical systems theory in explaining them construe complexity and reduction as exclusive alternatives. This paper argues that reduction, an approach to explanation that decomposes complex activities and localizes the components within the complex system, is not only compatible with an emphasis on complexity, but provides the foundation for dynamical analysis. Explanation via decomposition and localization is nonetheless extremely challenging, (...) and an analysis of recent cognitive neuroscience research on memory is used to illustrate what is involved. Memory researchers split between advocating memory systems and advocating memory processes, and I argue that it is the latter approach that provides the critical sort of decomposition and localization for explaining memory. The challenges of linking distinguishable functions with brain processes is illustrated by two examples: competing hypotheses about the contribution of the hippocampus and competing attempts to link areas in frontal cortex with memory processing. (shrink)
This paper explores some connections between the philosophically central topic of intersubjectivity highlighted in John Ziman's article and the notion of collective consciousness, which has received very little formal attention in mainstream philosophy. The deconstruction of the Cartesian model of isolated spheres of consciousness which the intersubjective viewpoint brings about is supported by considerations from Kant's critical account of transcendental psychology. The phenomenon of empathy, an essential component in the achievement of intersubjective consensus, is related to the possibility of shared (...) experiences, i.e. of two or more individuals participating in the same conscious experience. The use of mental concept-words applied to collectives of persons is interpreted as more than a mere metaphor; this interpretation is supported by comparison with complex collective behaviours in other social species. It is necessary to say that this paper very much represents work in progress-- other commitments have prevented the author from supporting many of the points made with references or further analysis at this stage, and it is hoped merely that this exploratory essay will provide useful ideas for further research. (shrink)
Today a change is imperative in approaching global problems: what is needed is not arm-twisting and power politics, but searching for ways of co-evolution in the complex social and geopolitical systems of the world. The modern theory of self-organization of complex systems provides us with an understanding of the possible forms of coexistence of heterogeneous social and geopolitical structures at different stages of development regarding the different paths of their sustainable co-evolutionary development. The theory argues that the evolutionary (...) channel to the observed increasing complexity is extremely narrow and only certain discrete spectra of relatively stable self-maintained structures are feasible in complex systems. There exists a restricted set of ways of assembling a complex evolutionary whole from diverse parts. The law of nonlinear synthesis of complex structures reads: the integration of structures in more complex ones occurs due to the establishment of a common tempo of their evolution. On the basis of the theory, we can see not only desirable but also attainable futures. (shrink)
Self-organized criticality (SOC) is based upon the idea that complex behavior can develop spontaneously in certain multi-body systems whose dynamics vary abruptly. This book is a clear and concise introduction to the field of self-organized criticality, and contains an overview of the main research results. The author begins with an examination of what is meant by SOC, and the systems in which it can occur. He then presents and analyzes computer models to describe a number of systems, and he (...) explains the different mathematical formalisms developed to understand SOC. The final chapter assesses the impact of this field of study, and highlights some key areas of new research. The author assumes no previous knowledge of the field, and the book contains several exercises. It will be ideal as a textbook for graduate students taking physics, engineering, or mathematical biology courses in nonlinear science or complexity. (shrink)
Here, for the first time, development studies encounters the set of ideas popularly known as 'Chaos Theory'. Samir Rihani applies to the processes of economic development, ideas from complex adaptive systems like uncertainty, complexity, and unpredictability. Rihani examines various aspects of the development process - including the World Bank, debt, and the struggle against poverty - and demonstrates the limitations of fundamentally linear thinking in an essentially non-linear world.
A Martin-Löf random sequence is an infinite binary sequence with the property that every initial segment $\sigma$ has prefix-free Kolmogorov complexity $K(\sigma)$ at least $|\sigma| - c$, for some constant $c \in \omega$. Informally, initial segments of Martin-Löf randoms are highly complex in the sense that they are not compressible by more than a constant number of bits. However, all Martin-Löf randoms necessarily have contiguous substrings of arbitrarily low complexity. If we demand that all substrings of a sequence be (...) uniformly complex, then we arrive at the notion of shift-complex sequences. In this paper, we collect some of the existing results on these sequences and contribute two new ones. Rumyantsev showed that the measure of oracles that compute shift-complex sequences is zero. We strengthen this result by proving that the Martin-Löf random sequences that do not compute shift-complex sequences are exactly the incomplete ones, in other words, the ones that do not compute the halting problem. In order to do so, we make use of the characterization by Franklin and Ng of the class of incomplete Martin-Löf randoms via a notion of randomness called difference randomness. Turning to the power of shift-complex sequences as oracles, we show that there are shift-complex sequences that do not compute Martin-Löf random (or even Kurtz random) sequences. (shrink)
This article presents the evolutionary dynamics of three games: the Nash bargaining game, the ultimatum game, and a hybrid of the two. One might expect that the probability that some behavior evolves in an environment with two games would be near the probability that the same behavior evolves in either game alone. This is not the case for the ultimatum and Nash bargaining games. Fair behavior is more likely to evolve in a combined game than in either game taken individually. (...) This result confirms a conjecture that the complexity of our actual environment provides an explanation for the evolution of fair behavior. Key Words: evolutionary game theory Nash bargaining game ultimatum game fairness. (shrink)
This paper proposes that engineers in public service are confronted with unavoidable complexity in their ethical considerations. The complexity begins with interactions among venues of ethical choices. Engineers must make ethical choices simultaneously at the individual, professional, organizational and societal levels. These ethical domains often conflict. The complexity also stems from situations in which physical properties may remain stable, but important social, economic, institutional and political conditions can change substantially. The paper proposes that the reflective learning approach of pragmatism can (...) help with these challenging situations. This approach depends upon employing Dewey’s five stage process of inquiry to engage the ethical complexity inherent in the practice of engineering in the public service. (shrink)
Dworkin wonders, in so far as we might be for equality, to some degree, what would we be for? He thinks equality is a complex, multi-faceted ideal. One facet is distributional equality. Here the question is, concerning money and other resources to be privately owned by individuals, when is the distribution an equal one? Equality of welfare “holds that a distributional scheme treats people as equals when it distributes or transfers resources among them until no further transfer would (...) leave them more equal in welfare.” Equality of welfare is a utilitarian version of egalitarianism. (shrink)
1. Among the most striking features of the political arrangements on this planet is its division into sovereign states.1 To be sure, in recent times, globalization has woven together the fates of communities and individuals in distant parts of the world in complex ways. It is partly for this reason that now hardly anyone champions a notion of sovereignty that would entirely discount a state’s liability the effects that its actions would have on foreign nationals. Still, state sovereignty (...) persists as a political fact. The number of states has increased enormously due to upheavals of the 20th century, and there is nothing in principle morally wrong with the existence of states - or so we will assume.2 What must be explored, then, are the limits of normatively plausible sovereignty. How bad does a government have to be for outsiders to be allowed to interfere? What responsibilities does a country incur because of its contribution to global warming? What obligations arise through trading? In this paper, we explore another pertinent question: to what extent is a country allowed to influence who lives on its territory by regulating immigration? The angle from which we approach this question continues to be neglected even now that questions of global justice are receiving much attention. Immigration amounts to a change in political relationships as immigrants alter their standing within one community and acquire a status elsewhere. Yet it also amounts to an alteration in physical relationship, since they acquire a relationship to a territory, making a life for themselves with the resources offered by a part of the earth.3 We base our exploration of.. (shrink)
We naturally think of the material world as being populated by a large number of individuals . These are things, such as my laptop and the particles that compose it, that we describe as being propertied and related in various ways when we describe the material world around us. In this paper I argue that, fundamentally speaking at least, there are no such things as material individuals. I then propose and defend an individual-less view of the material world (...) I call “generalism”. (shrink)
In this book Larry Temkin examines the concepts of equality and inequality, and addresses one particular question in depth: how can we judge between different sorts of inequality? When is one inequality worse than another? Temkin shows that there are many different factors underlying and influencing our egalitarian judgements and that the notion of inequality is surprisingly complex. He looks at inequality as applied to individuals and to groups, and at the standard measures of inequality employed by economists (...) and others, and considers whether inequality matters more in a poor society than a rich one. The arguments of non-egalitarians are also examined. -/- Temkin's book presents a new way of thinking about equality and inequality which challenges the assumptions of philosophers, welfare economists, and others concerned with these notions on a practical as well as a theoretical level. (shrink)
: This essay examines liminality as space of which dominant groups largely are ignorant. The limen is at the edge of hardened structures, a place where transgression of the reigning order is possible. As such, it both offers communicative openings and presents communicative impasses to liminal beings. For the limen to be a coalitional space, complex communication is required. This requires praxical awareness of one's own multiplicity and a recognition of the other's opacity that does not attempt to assimilate (...) it into one's own familiar meanings. Refusing the assumption of transparency and operating with relational identities, the complex communication that occurs in the limen—often invisible to dominant groups—can enable genuine coalition and effective resistance to domination. (shrink)
Complexity and Postmodernism explores the notion of complexity in the light of contemporary perspectives from philosophy and science. The book integrates insights from complexity and computational theory with the philosophical position of thinkers including Derrida and Lyotard. Paul Cilliers takes a critical stance towards the use of the analytical method as a tool to cope with complexity, and he rejects Searle's superficial contribution to the debate.
The problem of the morality of abortion is one of the most complex and controversial in the entire field of applied ethics. It may therefore appear rather surprising that the most popular proposed “solutions” to it are extremely simple and straightforward, based on clear-cut universal rules which typically either condemn abortion severely in virtually every case or else deem it to be morally quite unproblematic, and hence permissible whenever the mother wishes. This polarised situation in the theoretical debate, however, (...) is in clear contrast with the abortion law in many countries (including Britain), where abortions are treated very differently according to the stage of pregnancy at which they are carried out, so that early abortions are permitted relatively easily, whereas very late abortions are sanctioned only in exceptional cases. It seems likely, moreover, that in thus taking account of the time of an abortion, the law genuinely reflects the weight of public opinion - there may be no overall consensus on the underlying moral issues, but it does appear to be part of “commonsense” morality to accept that, whatever the ultimate rights and wrongs of abortion in general may be, at any rate abortion early in pregnancy is morally greatly preferable to late abortion. Let us call this “the developmental view”, since it holds that the moral gravity of abortion increases with the degree of development of the fetus. (shrink)
What are biological species? Aristotelians and Lockeans agree that they are natural kinds; but, evolutionary theory shows that neither traditional philosophical approach is truly adequate. Recently, Michael Ghiselin and David Hull have argued that species are individuals. This claim is shown to be against the spirit of much modern biology. It is concluded that species are natural kinds of a sort, and that any 'objectivity' they possess comes from their being at the focus of a consilience of inductions.
Much social theory takes for granted the core conceit of modern culture, that modern actors-individuals, organizations, nation states-are autochthonous and natural entities, no longer really embedded in culture. Accordingly, while there is much abstract metatheory about "actors" and their "agency," there is arguably little theory about the topic. This article offers direct arguments about how the modern (European, now global) cultural system constructs the modern actor as an authorized agent for various interests via an ongoing relocation into society of (...) agency originally located in transcendental authority or in natural forces environing the social system. We see this authorized agentic capability as an essential feature of what modern theory and culture call an "actor," and one that, when analyzed, helps greatly in explaining a number of otherwise anomalous or little analyzed features of modern individuals, organizations, and states. These features include their isomorphism and standardization, their internal decoupling, their extraordinarily complex structuration, and their capacity for prolific collective action. (shrink)
Intelligent design advocate William Dembski has introduced a measure of information called “complex specified information”, or CSI. He claims that CSI is a reliable marker of design by intelligent agents. He puts forth a “Law of Conservation of Information” which states that chance and natural laws are incapable of generating CSI. In particular, CSI cannot be generated by evolutionary computation. Dembski asserts that CSI is present in intelligent causes and in the flagellum of Escherichia coli , and concludes that (...) neither have natural explanations. In this paper, we examine Dembski’s claims, point out significant errors in his reasoning, and conclude that there is no reason to accept his assertions. (shrink)
When software is written and then utilized in complex computer systems, problems often occur. Sometimes these problems cause a system to malfunction, and in some instances such malfunctions cause harm. Should any of the persons involved in creating the software be blamed and punished when a computer system failure leads to persons being harmed? In order to decide whether such blame and punishment are appropriate, we need to first consider if the people are “morally responsible”. Should any of the (...) people involved in creating the software be held morally responsible, as individuals, for the harm caused by a computer system failure?This article provides one view of moral responsibility and then discusses some barriers to holding people morally responsible. Next, it provides information about the Therac-25, a computer-controlled medical linear accelerator, and its computer systems failures that led to deaths and injuries. Finally it investigates whether two key people involved in the Therac-25 case could reasonably be considered to have some degree of moral responsibility for the deaths and injuries. The conclusions about whether or not these people were morally responsible necessarily rest upon a certain amount of speculation about what they knew and what they did. These limitations, however, should not cause us to conclude that discussions of moral responsibility are fruitless. In some cases, determinations of moral responsibility may be made and in others the investigation is still worthwhile, as the article demonstrates. (shrink)
The current state of knowledge in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and behavioral ecology allows a fairly robust characterization of at least some, so-called ‘basic emotions’ - short-lived emotional responses with homologues in other vertebrates. Philosophers, however are understandably more focused on the complex emotion episodes that figure in folk-psychological narratives about mental life, episodes such as the evolving jealousy and anger of a person in an unraveling sexual relationship. One of the most pressing issues for the philosophy of emotion is (...) the relationship between basic emotions and these complex emotion episodes. In this paper, I add to the list of existing, not necessarily incompatible, proposals concerning the relationship between basic emotions and complex emotions. I analyze the writings of ‘transactional’ psychologists of emotion, particularly those who see their work as a contribution to behavioral ecology, and offer a view of the basic emotion that focuses as much on their interpersonal functions as on their intrapersonal functions. Locating basic emotions and their evolutionary development in a context of processes of social interaction, I suggest, provides a way to integrate our knowledge of basic emotions into an understanding of the larger emotional episodes that have more obvious implications for philosophical disciplines such as moral psychology. (shrink)
What if psychoanalysis had chosen Antigone rather than Oedipus? This book traces the relation between ethics and desire in important philosophical texts that focus on femininity and use Antigone as their model. It shows that the notion of feminine desire is conditioned by a view of women as being prone to excesses and deficiencies in relation to ethical norms and rules. Sjöholm explains Mary Wollstonecraft’s work, as well as readings of Antigone by G.W.F. Hegel, Martin Heidegger, Luce Irigaray, Jacques Lacan, (...) and Judith Butler. This book introduces the concept of the “Antigone complex” in order to illuminate the obscure and multifaceted question of feminine desire, which has given rise to the fascination of generations of philosophers and other theoreticians, as well as readers and spectators. At the same time the book argues for a notion of desire that is intrinsically related to ethics. The ethical question posed by Antigone, and explored in the book, is: what determines those actions that one must do, as opposed to those that one ought to do? (shrink)
The current state of knowledge in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and behavioral ecology allows a fairly robust characterization of at least some, so-called ?basic emotions? - short-lived emotional responses with homologues in other vertebrates. Philosophers, however are understandably more focused on the complex emotion episodes that figure in folk-psychological narratives about mental life, episodes such as the evolving jealousy and anger of a person in an unraveling sexual relationship. One of the most pressing issues for the philosophy of emotion is (...) the relationship between basic emotions and these complex emotion episodes. In this paper, I add to the list of existing, not necessarily incompatible, proposals concerning the relationship between basic emotions and complex emotions. I analyze the writings of ?transactional? psychologists of emotion, particularly those who see their work as a contribution to behavioral ecology, and offer a view of the basic emotion that focuses as much on their interpersonal functions as on their intrapersonal functions. Locating basic emotions and their evolutionary development in a context of processes of social interaction, I suggest, provides a way to integrate our knowledge of basic emotions into an understanding of the larger emotional episodes that have more obvious implications for philosophical disciplines such as moral psychology. (shrink)
Complex systems are dynamic and may show high levels of variability in both space and time. It is often difficult to decide on what constitutes a given complex system, i.e., where system boundaries should be set, and what amounts to substantial change within the system. We discuss two central themes: the nature of system definitions and their ability to cope with change, and the importance of system definitions for the mental metamodels that we use to describe and order (...) ideas about system change. Systems can only be considered as single study units if they retain their identity. Previous system definitions have largely ignored the need for both spatial and temporal continuity as essential attributes of identity. After considering the philosophical issues surrounding identity and system definitions, we examine their application to modeling studies. We outline a set of five alternative metamodels that capture a range of the basic dynamics of complex systems. Although Holling’s adaptive cycle is a compelling and widely applicable metamodel that fits many complex systems, there are systems that do not necessarily follow the adaptive cycle. We propose that more careful consideration of system definitions and alternative metamodels for complex systems will lead to greater conceptual clarity in the field and, ultimately, to more rigorous research. (shrink)
This paper presents a semantic and pragmatic theory of complex demonstratives. According to this theory, the semantic content of a complex demonstrative, in a context, is simply an object, and the semantic content of a sentence that contains a complex demonstrative, in a context, is a singular proposition. This theory is defended from various objections to direct reference theories of complex demonstratives, including King's objection from quantification into complex demonstratives.
result from combining the determiners `this' or `that' with syntactically simple or complex common noun phrases such as `woman' or `woman who is taking her skis off'. Thus, `this woman', and `that woman who is taking her skis off' are complex demonstratives. There are also plural complex demonstratives such as `these skis' and `those snowboarders smoking by the gondola'. My book Complex Demonstratives: A Quantificational Account argues against what I call the direct reference account of (...) class='Hi'>complex demonstratives (henceforth DRCD) and defends a quantificational account of complex demonstratives. In two recent papers, Nathan Salmon has criticized one of the book's arguments against DRCD. In this essay I show that Salmon's criticism fails. I also show that the version of DRCD that Salmon ends up endorsing is false. (shrink)
Penelope Mackie's book is a novel treatment of an issue central to much current work in metaphysics: the distinction between the essential and accidental properties of individuals. Mackie challenges widely held views, and arrives at what she calls "minimalist essentialism," an unorthodox theory according to which ordinary individuals have relatively few interesting essential properties. Mackie's clear and accessible discussions of issues surrounding necessity and essentialism mean that the book will appeal as much to graduate students as it will (...) to seasoned metaphysicians. (shrink)
Concepts are highly theoretical entities. One cannot study them empirically without committing oneself to substantial preliminary assumptions. Among the competing theories of concepts and categorization developed by psychologists in the last thirty years, the implicit theoretical assumption that what falls under a concept is determined by description (descriptionism) has never been seriously challenged. I present a nondescriptionist theory of our most basic concepts, substances, which include (1) stuffs (gold, milk), (2) real kinds (cat, chair), and (3) individuals (Mama, Bill (...) Clinton, the Empire State Building). On the basis of something important that all three have in common, our earliest and most basic concepts of substances are identical in structure. The membership of the category cat, like that of Mama, is a natural unit in nature, to which the concept cat does something like pointing, and continues to point despite large changes in the properties the thinker represents the unit as having. For example, large changes can occur in the way a child identifies cats and the things it is willing to call cat without affecting the extension of its word cat. The difficulty is to cash in the metaphor of pointing in this context. Having substance concepts need not depend on knowing words, but language interacts with substance concepts, completely transforming the conceptual repertoire. I will discuss how public language plays a crucial role in both the acquisition of substance concepts and their completed structure. Key Words: basic-level categories; categorization; child language; concepts; externalism; names; natural kinds; Putnam; theory of meaning. (shrink)
Philippe van Parijs (2003) has argued that an egalitarian ethos cannot be part of a post- Political Liberalism Rawlsian view of justice, because the demands of political justice are confined to principles for institutions of the basic structure alone. This paper argues, by contrast, that certain principles for individual conduct—including a principle requiring relatively advantaged individuals to sometimes make their economic choices with the aim of maximising the prospects of the least advantaged—are an integral part of a Rawlsian political (...) conception of justice. It concludes that incentive payments will have a clearly limited role in a Rawlsian theory of justice. (shrink)
This paper addresses a problem for theories of epistemic democracy. In a decision on a complex issue which can be decomposed into several parts, a collective can use different voting procedures: Either its members vote on each sub-question and the answers that gain majority support are used as premises for the conclusion on the main issue (premise based-procedure, pbp), or the vote is conducted on the main issue itself (conclusion-based procedure, cbp). The two procedures can lead to different results. (...) We investigate which of these procedures is better as a truth-tracker, assuming that there exists a true answer to be reached. On the basis of the Condorcet jury theorem, we show that the pbp is universally superior if the objective is to reach truth for the right reasons. If one instead is after truth for whatever reasons, right or wrong, there will be cases in which the cbp is more reliable, even though, for the most part, the pbp still is to be preferred. (shrink)
This book is the first comprehensive study of Rousseau's rich and complex theory of the type of self-love (amour proper) that, for him, marks the central difference between humans and the beasts. Amour proper is the passion that drives human individuals to seek the esteem, approval, admiration, or love--the recognition--of their fellow beings. Neuhouser reconstructs Rousseau's understanding of what the drive for recognition is, why it is so problematic, and how its presence opens up far-reaching developmental possibilities for (...) creatures that possess it. One of Rousseau's central theses is that amour proper in its corrupted, manifestations--pride or vanity--is the principal source of an array of evils so widespread that they can easily appear to be necessary features of the human condition: enslavement, conflict, vice, misery, and self-estrangement. Yet Rousseau also argues that solving these problems depends not on suppressing or overcoming the drive for recognition but on cultivating it so that it contributes positively to the achievement of freedom, peace, virtue, happiness, and unalienated selfhood. Indeed, Rousseau goes so far as to claim that, despite its many dangers, the need for recognition is a condition of nearly everything that makes human life valuable and that elevates it above mere animal existence: rationality, morality, freedom--subjectivity itself--would be impossible for humans if it were not for amour proper and the relations to others it impels us to establish. (shrink)
Some demonstrative expressions, those we might term ‘bare demonstratives’, appear without any appended descriptive content (e.g. occurrences of ‘this’ or ‘that’ simpliciter). However, it seems that the majority of demonstrative occurrences do not follow this model. ‘Complex demonstratives’ is the collective term I shall use for phrases formed by adjoining one or more common nouns to a demonstrative expression (e.g. ‘that cat’, ‘this happy man’) and I will call the combination of predicates immediately concatenated with the demonstrative in such (...) phrases the ‘matrix’ of the expression. The question, then, is how we should construe the logical form of such expressions within a semantic theory for our language; and I wish to suggest that some recent answers to this question are, in fact, mistaken. The structure of the paper is as follows: first, I wish to highlight two (often underlying) assumptions about the nature of noun phrases in general, and suggest that, if they are both adopted, they apparently constrain the possible accounts of the logical form of complex demonstratives to just three options. The second and third parts of the paper will be concerned with expanding these options and arguing that none of them are adequate; thus the major part of the paper is concerned with the negative claim that the most obvious moves to make in this area must actually fail on closer inspection. The fourth and final section will then (very briefly) sketch the positive thesis of the paper: that we can deliver a clear and cohesive account of complex demonstratives, armed simply with elements which we will draw from David Kaplan’s theory of demonstratives, but only at the cost of rejecting (or at least refining) one assumption we recognised initially. (shrink)
This paper investigates the relation of the Calculus of Individuals presented by Henry S. Leonard and Nelson Goodman in their joint paper, and an earlier version of it, the so-called Calculus of Singular Terms, introduced by Leonard in his Ph.D. dissertation thesis Singular Terms. The latter calculus is shown to be a proper subsystem of the former. Further, Leonard’s projected extension of his system is described, and the definition of an intensional part-relation in his system is proposed. The final (...) section discusses to what extend Goodman might have contributed to the formulation of the Calculus of Individuals. (shrink)
In models of multi-level selection, the property of Darwinian fitness is attributed to entities at more than one level of the biological hierarchy, e.g. individuals and groups. However, the relation between individual and group fitness is a controversial matter. Theorists disagree about whether group fitness should always, or ever, be defined as total (or average) individual fitness. This paper tries to shed light on the issue by drawing on work in social choice theory, and pursuing an analogy between fitness (...) and utility. Social choice theorists have long been interested in the relation between individual and social utility, and have identified conditions under which social utility equals total (or average) individual utility. These ideas are used to shed light on the biological problem. (shrink)
This paper explores the impact of the concepts of identity and difference on demented persons (especially on persons with Alzheimer's disease). The diagnosis of dementia is often synonymous with the assertion that demented individuals are no longer capable of making reasonable decisions. But rationality is an important aspect of characterizing a person's identity. Hence, this prevailing image of dementia as a loss of self and a change of identity leads to the situation that demented persons represent difference and otherness. (...) Here, the brain and the mind act as the source for difference. The paper discusses several identity concepts with regard to demented persons and the relationship between identity and difference in dementia. This analysis is accompanied by an examination of the current biopolitics of dementia and ageing as biopolitics constitutes the socio-political-medical understanding of dementia. Challenges and possibilities for dementia care will be explored in the context of this complex relationship between theoretical concepts and political, medical, and health-care practices. (shrink)
The main aim of Jeff McMahan's manuscript on the morality of war is to answer the question: why and accordingly when is it justified or permissible to kill people in war? However, McMahan argues that the same principles apply to individual actions and to war. McMahan rejects all doctrines of collective responsibility and liability. His claim is that every individual is liable for what he has done and not for the actions of others - even if both are part of (...) the same collective. Accordingly, McMahan challenges the common view that it is much easier to justify killing in war compared to killing in other contexts. Therefore, the scope of his project exceeds the context of war and extends to interpersonal conflicts between individuals that do not qualify as war. Many of McMahan's main claims are appealing. Particularly, appealing is his rejection of the collectivist account of war. Indeed, it seems that the simple story according to which people are responsible solely for their actions - rather than (also) to the actions of others - should be held on until a different, more complex, account of collective responsibility is put forward and its plausibility is explained. Therefore, the article focuses on the general principles advocated by McMahan with regard to the resolution of all interpersonal conflicts: Whether these conflicts are small scale or large scale (that is, whether few or a many people are involved in the conflict), and within the latter category of conflicts involving many people, whether these conflicts qualify as war (according to some standard) or not. (shrink)
The demise of behaviorism has made ethologists more willing to ascribe mental states to animals. However, a methodology that can avoid the charge of excessive anthropomorphism is needed. We describe a series of experiments that could help determine whether the behavior of nonhuman animals towards dead conspecifics is concept mediated. These experiments form the basis of a general point. The behavior of some animals is clearly guided by complex mental processes. The techniques developed by comparative psychologists and behavioral ecologists (...) are able to provide us with the tools to critically evaluate hypotheses concerning the continuity between human minds and animal minds. (shrink)
The prevailing concept in modern cognitive neuroscience is that cognitive functions are performed predominantly at the network level, whereas the role of individual neurons is unlikely to extend beyond forming the simple basic elements of these networks. Within this conceptual framework, individuals of outstanding cognitive abilities appear as a result of a favorable configuration of the microarchitecture of the cognitive-implicated networks, whose final formation in ontogenesis may occur in a relatively random way. Here I suggest an alternative concept, which (...) is based on neurological data and on data from human behavioral genetics. I hypothesize that cognitive functions are performed mainly at the intracellular, probably at the molecular level. Central to this hypothesis is the idea that the neurons forming the networks involved in cognitive processes are complex elements whose functions are not limited to generating electrical potentials and releasing neurotransmitters. According to this hypothesis, individuals of outstanding abilities are so due to a lucky combination of specific genes that determine the intrinsic properties of neurons involved in cognitive functions of the brain. (shrink)
It is argued that experiences are complex events that befall their subjects. Each experience has a single subject and depends on the state or the event that it is of. The constituents of an experience are (or underlie) its subject, its grounding event or state, and everything that the subject is aware of during that time that's relevant to the telling of the story of how it was to participate in that event or be put in that state. The (...) experience occurs where the person having the experience is. An experience of an event or state occurs when that event or state makes a difference to its possessor's conscious life, where this difference is either a matter of really knowing what's happening or merely a matter of being affected. (shrink)
Complex demonstratives, expressions of the form 'That F', 'These Fs', etc., have traditionally been taken to be referring terms. Yet they exhibit many of the features of quantified noun phrases. This has led some philosophers to suggest that demonstrative determiners are a special kind of quantifier, which can be paraphrased using a context sensitive definite description. Both these views contain elements of the truth, though each is mistaken. We advance a novel account of the semantic form of complex (...) demonstratives that shows how to reconcile the view that they function like quantified noun phrases with the view that simple demonstratives function as context sensitive referring terms wherever they occur. If we are right, previous accounts of complex demonstratives have misconceived their semantic role; and philosophers relying on the majority view in employing complex demonstratives in analysis have proceeded on a false assumption. (shrink)
We develop a category theoretical scheme for the comprehension of the information structure associated with a complex system, in terms of families of partial or local information carriers. The scheme is based on the existence of a categorical adjunction, that provides a theoretical platform for the descriptive analysis of the complex system as a process of functorial information communication.
Until recently it was standard to think that all demonstratives are directly referential. This assumption has played important roles in work on perception, reference, mental content, and the nature of propositions. But Jeff King claims that demonstratives with a nominal complement (like ‘that dog’) are quantifiers, largely because there are cases in which the semantic value of such a “complex demonstrative” is not simply an object (2001). Although I agree with King that such cases preclude a directly referential, Kaplanian (...) semantics for complex demonstratives, I will argue that without contentious further assumptions they do not vindicate King’s claim that they are quantifiers. This is because familiar pronouns act like King’s examples of complex demonstratives. Indeed, pronouns and complex demonstratives share behavior that even King overlooks. None of this pronoun behavior shows that pronouns are quantifiers, and similarly none of the analogous demonstrative behavior shows that complex demonstratives are quantifiers. (shrink)
A key topic in the work of Burghard Rieger is the notion of meaning. To explore this notion, he and his collaborators developed a most sophisticated approach combining theoretical ideas and concepts of semiotics with empirical and numerical tools of computational linguistics (see  for a most recent comprehensive account). In the present contribution, relations of Rieger’s achievements to some issues of interest in the physics and philosophy of complex systems will be addressed.
Steven French and Décio Krause have written what bids fair to be, for years to come, the definitive philosophical treatment of the problem of the individuality of elementary particles in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. The book begins with a long and dense argument for the view that elementary particles are most helpfully regarded as non-individuals, and it concludes with an earnest attempt to develop a formal apparatus for describing such non-individual entities better suited to the task than (...) our customary set theory. Along the way one is treated to a compendious philosophical history of quantum statistics and a well-nigh exhaustive (I’m tempted to say, “exhausting”) analytical history of philosophical responses to the quantum theory’s prima facie challenge to classical notions of particle individuality. The book is also a salvo from the headquarters artillery company of the “pro” side in the contemporary structuralism wars, and an essay in metaphysical naturalism. Whew! There are too many places where the friendly critic wants to engage the argument, and few where the authors have not already anticipated such engagement. I take this as my excuse, then, for offering not any systematic response to the whole project, but just some questions and observations about several points that caught my attention. (shrink)
This paper builds on the system of David Lewis’s “Parts of Classes” to provide a foundation for mathematics that arguably requires not only no distinctively mathematical ideological commitments (in the sense of Quine), but also no distinctively mathematical ontological commitments. Provided only that there are enough individual atoms, the devices of plural quantification and mereology can be employed to simulate quantification over classes, while at the same time allowing all of the atoms (and most of their fusions with which we (...) are concerned) to be individuals (that is, urelements of classes). The final section of the paper canvasses some reasons to be committed to the required ontology for other than mathematical reasons. (shrink)
This article has three main parts, Section 2 considers the nature and extent to which individuals who are well-off have a moral obligation to aid the worlds needy. Drawing on a pluralistic approach to morality, which includes consequentialist, virtue-based, and deontological elements, it is contended that most who are well-off should do much more than they do to aid the needy, and that they are open to serious moral criticism if they simply ignore the needy. Part one also focuses (...) on the United States, and illustrates both how incredibly wealthy the U.S. is and some of the spending habits of its citizens; however, its considerations apply to the well-off generally. Section 3 considers whether justice provides reasons for helping the needy. Noting that justice in an extremely complex notion, it discusses numerous considerations relevant to justices scope and implications, including an extended Rawlsian conception of justice, an absolute conception, a comparative conception, the distinction between natural and social justice, and various elements of common-sense morality. Section 2 also distinguishes between agent-relative justice-based reasons, which are relevant to whether we act justly, and agent-neutral justice-based reasons, which are relevant to whether we have reasons of justicefor acting. Correspondingly, it argues that even if one can ignore the needy without acting unjustly, as philosophers like Robert Nozick and Jan Narveson contend, there may be powerful reasons of justicefor addressing their plight. Section 4 briefly address the responsibilities of international organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Trade Organization (WTO). Drawing on Section 2, it is suggested that in addition to standard reasons to act justlytowards needy members of the worlds community, there will be reasons of justicefor such organizations to aid the needy in both present, and future, generations. The article concludes by contending that the well-off in countries like the U.S. have reason to view international organizations like the World Bank, IMF, and WTO as their agents, and to seek to insure that they alleviate misfortunes amongst the worlds needy. (shrink)
In China, guanxi is the basis on which Chinese exchange a lifetime of favors, resources, and business leverage. Guanxi is considered a unique construct and a product of Confucian values and the contemporary political and socioeconomic system in Chinese society. With its cultural embeddings guanxi , as the social norm of conduct, functions as complex adaptive systems that expand and interconnect to become well-knit social networks; meanwhile the functions of well-fixing and self-reinforcement of the guanxi networks ( chuens ) (...) are synergetically activated internally, externally, and interactively, which shows their extreme flexibility of adaptation. Taking as a case study an outside direct investment (ODI) Taiwanese firm in China, we address and conduct a survey to examine the effect of guanxi on management. Results of the research suggest that guanxi is not limited to interpersonal links; it is also the switch that activates social networks and that reconciles interpersonal and internetwork mismatches to influence management efficacy. (shrink)
We are often faced with choices that involve the weighing of people's lives against each other, or the weighing of lives against other good things. These are choices both for individuals and for societies. A person who is terminally ill may have to choose between palliative care and more aggressive treatment, which will give her a longer life but at some cost in suffering. We have to choose between the convenience to ourselves of road and air travel, and the (...) lives of the future people who will be killed by the global warming we cause, through violent weather, tropical disease, and heat waves. We also make choices that affect how many lives there will be in the future: as individuals we choose how many children to have, and societies choose tax policies that influence people's choices about having children. These are all problems of weighing lives. How should we weigh lives? Weighing Lives develops a theoretical basis for answering this practical question. It extends the work and methods of Broome's earlier book Weighing Goods to cover the questions of life and death. Difficult problems come up in the process. In particular, Weighing Lives tackles the well-recognized, awkward problems of the ethics of population. It carefully examines the common intuition that adding people to the population is ethically neutral - neither a good nor a bad thing - but eventually concludes this intuition cannot be fitted into a coherent theory of value. In the course of its argument, Weighing Lives examines many of the issues of contemporary moral theory: the nature of consequentialism and teleology; the transitivity, continuity, and vagueness of betterness; the quantitative conception of wellbeing; the notion of a life worth living; the badness of death; and others. This is a work of philosophy, but one of its distinctive features is that it adopts some of the precise methods of economic theory (without introducing complex mathematics). Not only philosophers, but also economists and political theorists concerned with the practical question of valuing life, should find the book's conclusions highly significant to their work. (shrink)
Social externalism implies that many competences are not personal assets separable from social and cultural environments but complex states of affairs involving individuals and persisting features of social reality. The paper explores the consequences for competence identity over time and across contexts, and hence for the predictive role usually accorded to competences.
In this paper I present a formal language in which complex predicates stand for properties and relations, and assignments of denotations to complex predicates and assignments of extensions to the properties and relations they denote are both homomorphisms. This system affords a fresh perspective on several important philosophical topics, highlighting the algebraic features of properties and clarifying the sense in which properties can be represented by their extensions. It also suggests a natural modification of current logics of properties, (...) one in which some complex predicates stand for properties while others do not. (shrink)
[Opening sentences:]What business does the government have in sticking its nose into people’s private affairs? What affairs could be more legitimately private than relationships involving sex and love? LOCKEAN LIBERTARIANISM These questions resonate with many individuals across a wide range of ideologies and beliefs. For many of us these questions will strike us as rhetorical questions to which the obvious answers are “none” and “none.” These responses reflect a Lockean libertarian strain in the social thinking of many intelligent and (...) thoughtful people. But of course matters are more complex, even as viewed from a Lockean libertarian perspective.1 Sex and love tend to bring about new children, and causing a child to exist is a social act with wide consequences for other people who could not be supposed to consent to bear these consequences. Libertarians will regard with equanimity the showering of externalities in the form of benefits that typically accompany the creation and upbringing of a responsible competent person who becomes a useful member of society. The libertarian will insist that the receipt of such benefits does not generate any reciprocal obligations to benefit those who benefit us in these unconsented to ways.—at least, not obligations that are legitimately enforceable and that justify forcible imposition on people’s liberty to lead their lives as they choose. But bringing children into the world can and often does impose net costs on people who do not consent to bear these costs. The introduction of one extra person may strain scarce resources... (shrink)
The species category is defined as thesmallest historical individual within which there is a parental pattern of ancestry and descent. The use of historical individual in this definition is consistent with the prevailing notion that speciesper se are not involved in processes — they are effects, not effectors. Reproductive isolation distinguishes biparental historical species from their parts, and it provides a basis for understanding the nature of the evidence used to discover historical individuals.
This paper looks at judgments of guilt in the face of alleged wrong-doing, be it in public or in private discourse. Its concern is not the truth of such judgments, although the complexity and contestability of such claims will be stressed. The topic, instead, is what sort of activities we are engaged in, when we make our judgments on others' conduct. To examine judging as an activity it focuses on a series of problems that can occur when we blame others. (...) On analysis, we see that these problems take the form of performative contradictions, so that the ostensible purposes of assigning guilt to others are undermined.There is clear evidence from social psychology that blame is especially frequently and inappropriately attributed to individuals in modern Western societies. On the other hand, it has often been observed how suspicious we are about the activity of judging – thus a widespread perception that a refusal to judge is somehow virtuous. My suggestion is that the sheer difficulty of attributions of responsibility, in the face of a complex and often arbitrary moral reality, frequently defeats us. This leads to a characteristic set of distortions when we blame, so that it is no surprise that we have become suspicious of all blaming activities. (shrink)
firstname.lastname@example.org http://bruce.edmonds.name Abstract. Two kinds of problem are distinguished: the first of finding processes which produce complex outcomes from the interaction of simple parts, and the second of finding which process resulted in an observed complex outcome. The former I call the easy complexity problem and the later the hard complexity problem. It is often assumed that progress with the easy problem will aid process with the hard problem. However this assumes that the “reverse engineering” problem, of determining (...) the process from the outcomes is feasible. Taking a couple of simple models of reverse engineering, I show that this task is infeasible in the general case. Hence it cannot be assumed that reverse engineering is possible, and hence that most of the time progress on the easy problem will not help with the hard problem unless there are special properties of a particular set of processes that make it feasible. Assuming that complexity science is not merely an academic “game” and given the analysis of this paper, some criteria for the kinds of paper that have a reasonable chance of being eventually useful for understanding observed complex systems are outlined. Many complexity papers do not fare well against these critieria. (shrink)
This paper presents a number of objections to Jeffrey King’s quantificational theory of complex demonstratives. Some of these objections have to do with modality, whereas others concern attitude ascriptions. Various possible replies are considered. The debate between quantificational theorists and direct reference theorists over complex demonstratives is compared with recent debates concerning definite descriptions.
I argue that meaning or significanceper se, along with the capacity to be conscious thereof, and the values, motives and aspirations, etc. central to the constitution of our intrinsic personal identities, arise, as indeed do our extrinsic social identities, and our very self-consciousness as such, from socio-cultural structures and relations to others. However, so far from our identities and behavior therefore being determined, I argue that the capacity for critical reflection and evaluation emerge from these same structural relations, the more (...)complex and quintessentially human aspects of our behavior being explained not in terms of responses to stimuli but as choices reflecting our evaluation of meaningful or significant alternatives. Finally I provide theoretical grounds for accepting the existence of other subjects and give a holistic, as opposed to a dialectical, account of the way individuals may challenge and change the very socio-cultural ways of relating to and interacting with others so central to constituting their capacities and identities. (shrink)
Following Aristotle (who himself was following Parmenides), philosophers have appealed to the distributional reflexes of expressions in determining their semantic status, and ultimately, the nature of the extra-linguistic world. This methodology has been practiced throughout the history of philosophy; it was clarified and made popular by the likes of Zeno Vendler and J.L. Austin, and is realized today in the toolbox of linguistically minded philosophers. Studying the syntax of natural language was fueled by the belief that there is a conceptually (...) tight connection between the syntax of our language and its semantics, and the belief that there is a similarly tight connection between the semantics of our language and metaphysical facts about the world. We are less confident than our colleagues about the relation syntax has to semantics and metaphysics. In particular, we do not believe that the current status of theoretical syntax (or semantics or metaphysics) provides much support for either of the above two beliefs. We will illustrate our view with a case study regarding the status of complex demonstratives. We will show that a recent and particularly subtle syntactically based argument for the semantic/metaphysical status of complex demonstratives does not in fact show what semantic category complex demonstratives are in. Since the devil always lies in the details, we cannot extract a general method for undermining any argument that is similar in spirit. However, our case study will act as a cautionary note against any theory that attempts to derive important philosophical consequences from the shapes of sentences. (shrink)
s phenomenology to the foundations of social and political theory can be appraised at both the methodological and the normative level. First, it makes intersubjective interaction central to the constitution of social reality. Second, it stresses reciprocity as a constitutive feature of intersubjectivity. In this context, individuals can be seen to be both constituting and constituted by their participation in communities, under a constraint of mutual recognition as intentional agents. This view is in no way atomistic, as it allows (...) individual identities to be constituted intersubjectively; still, it remains individualistic, since it does not permit the ontological independence of collective entities. At the epistemological level, this provides a foundation of methodological individualism; at the normative level, it suggests that social order is a deliberative task and political legitimacy ultimately rests on moral principles of reciprocity and equal respect. Key Words: deliberation democracy Habermas Husserl individualism intersubjectivity liberalism normativity phenomenology recognition reciprocity social theory. (shrink)
As many as two million people in the United Kingdom repeatedly see people, animals, and objects that have no objective reality. Hallucinations on the border of sleep, dementing illnesses, delirium, eye disease, and schizophrenia account for 90% of these. The remainder have rarer disorders. We review existing models of recurrent complex visual hallucinations (RCVH) in the awake person, including cortical irritation, cortical hyperexcitability and cortical release, top-down activation, misperception, dream intrusion, and interactive models. We provide evidence that these can (...) neither fully account for the phenomenology of RCVH, nor for variations in the frequency of RCVH in different disorders. We propose a novel Perception and Attention Deficit (PAD) model for RCVH. A combination of impaired attentional binding and poor sensory activation of a correct proto-object, in conjunction with a relatively intact scene representation, bias perception to allow the intrusion of a hallucinatory proto-object into a scene perception. Incorporation of this image into a context-specific hallucinatory scene representation accounts for repetitive hallucinations. We suggest that these impairments are underpinned by disturbances in a lateral frontal cortex–ventral visual stream system. We show how the frequency of RCVH in different diseases is related to the coexistence of attentional and visual perceptual impairments; how attentional and perceptual processes can account for their phenomenology; and that diseases and other states with high rates of RCVH have cholinergic dysfunction in both frontal cortex and the ventral visual stream. Several tests of the model are indicated, together with a number of treatment options that it generates. Key Words: Blindness; Charles Bonnet; cholinergic; cortical release; delirium; dementia; dream intrusion; hallucination; Perception and Attention Deficit (PAD) model; schizophrenia. (shrink)
While Nietzsche is a major critic of modernity, he also exemplifies its spirit and ethos. Although he argues against democracy, liberalism, and various progressive social movements, Nietzsche's attack is at least partially carried out in a modern Enlightenment style, negating existing ideas in the name of a better future. Despite his keen appreciation for past cultures like classical antiquity and defense of some premodern values, Nietzsche is very future and present-oriented, attacking tradition while calling for a new society and culture. (...) An impetus toward innovation, involving negation of the old and creation of the new, is therefore at the very heart of Nietzsche's complex and often enigmatic theoretical work, which, in the spirit of modernity, affirms development and transcendence of the old as crucial values for contemporary individuals and society. (shrink)
In this article, I present a software architecture for intelligent agents. The essence of AI is complex information processing. It is impossible, in principle, to process complex information as a whole. We need some partial processing strategy that is still somehow connected to the whole. We also need flexible processing that can adapt to changes in the environment. One of the candidates for both of these is situated reasoning, which makes use of the fact that an agent is (...) in a situation, so it only processes some of the information – the part that is relevant to that situation. The combination of situated reasoning and context reflection leads to the idea of organic programming, which introduces a new building block of programs called a cell. Cells contain situated programs and the combination of cells is controlled by those programs. (shrink)
Dimensions of the ethical work climate, as conceptualized by Victor and Cullen (1988), are potentially important influences on individual ethical decision-making in the organizational context. The present study examined the direct and indirect effects of individuals' perceptions of work climate on their ethical judgments and behavioral intentions regarding an ethical dilemma. A national sample of marketers was surveyed in a scenario-based research study. The results indicated that, although perceived climate dimensions did not have a direct effect on behavioral intentions, (...) there were significant moderating effects. Climates perceived as emphasizing social responsibility and rules/codes moderated the individual ethical judgment-behavioral intentions relationship such that individuals were less likely to say that they would engage in a questionable selling practice even when they themselves did not believe the practice to be unethical. Respondents were somewhat more likely to form intentions consistent with their judgment that the questionable practice was morally acceptable when the ethical climate was characterized by an emphasis on team/friendship. (shrink)
Systems involving many interacting variables are at the heart of the natural and social sciences. Causal language is pervasive in the analysis of such systems, especially when insight into their behavior is translated into policy decisions. This is exemplified by economics, but to an increasing extent also by biology, due to the advent of sophisticated tools to identify the genetic basis of many diseases. It is argued here that a regularity notion of causality can only be meaningfully defined for systems (...) with linear interactions among their variables. For the vastly more important class of nonlinear systems, no such notion is likely to exist. This thesis is developed with examples of dynamical systems taken mostly from mathematical biology. It is discussed with particular reference to the problem of causal inference in complex genetic systems, systems for which often only statistical characterizations exist. (shrink)