A study of shifts in scientific strategies for measuring the living body, especially in dynamic systemstheory: (1) sheds light on Hegel's concept of measure in The Science of Logic, and the dialectical transition from categories of being to categories of essence; (2) shows how Hegel's speculative logic anticipates and analyzes key tensions in scientific attempts to measure and conceive the dynamic agency of the body. The study's analysis of the body as having an essentially dynamic (...) identity irreducible to measurement aims to contribute to reconceiving the body, in a way that may be helpful to overcoming dualism. (shrink)
The concepts and powerful mathematical tools of Dynamical SystemsTheory (DST) yield illuminating methods of studying cognitive processes, and are even claimed by some to enable us to bridge the notorious explanatory gap separating mind and matter. This article includes an analysis of some of the conceptual and empirical progress Dynamical SystemsTheory is claimed to accomodate. While sympathetic to the dynamicist program in principle, this article will attempt to formulate a series of problems the proponents (...) of the approach in question will need to face if they wish to prolong their optimism. The main points to be addressed involve the reductive tendencies inherent in Dynamical SystemsTheory, its somewhat muddled position relative to connectionism, the metaphorical nature DST-C exhibits which hinders its explanatory potential, and DST-C's problematic account of causality. Brief discussions of the mathematical and philosophical backgrounds of DST, seminal experimental work and possible adaptations of the theory or alternative suggestions (dynamicist connectionism, neurophenomenology, R&D theory) are included. (shrink)
Contemporary thought, whether it be in psychology, biology, immunology, philosophy of perception or philosophy of mind, is confronted with the breakdown of barriers between organism and environment, self and other, subject and object, perceiver and perceived. In this paper I show how Merleau-Ponty can help us think about this problem, by attending to a methodological theme in the background of his dialectical conception of embodiment. In La structure du comportement, Merleau-Ponty conceives life as extension folding back upon itself so as (...) to reveal Hegel’s ‘hidden mind of nature.’ In the Phénoménologie de la perception, radical reflection elucidates the body schema as an essence that reveals itself within embodied existence, qua shaping the natural perceptual dialogue in which the perceiver and the perceived permeate and separate from one another. In these two conceptions of embodiment, we progressively see how the dialectical principle of embodiment must reveal and conceive itself within embodiment itself. Science, on the other hand, follows the phenomena of the body to a certain point, but refuses to allow that embodiment is self-conceptual. I illustrate this using the example of dynamic systemstheory, an inheritor of the tradition of J.J. Gibson’s ecological psychology. In this way, I show how Merleau-Ponty’s conception of the dialectic of embodiment as self-conceptual is important to problems in contemporary thought. (shrink)
I propose a semi-eliminative reduction of Fodors concept of module to the concept of attractor basin which is used in Cognitive Dynamic SystemsTheory (DST). I show how attractor basins perform the same explanatory function as modules in several DST based research program. Attractor basins in some organic dynamic systems have even been able to perform cognitive functions which are equivalent to the If/Then/Else loop in the computer language LISP. I suggest directions for future research programs which (...) could find similar equivalencies between organic dynamic systems and other cognitive functions. This type of research could help us discover how (and/or if) it is possible to use Dynamic SystemsTheory to more accurately model the cognitive functions that are now being modeled by subroutines in Symbolic AI computer models. If such a reduction of subroutines to basins of attraction is possible, it could free AI from the limitations that prompted Fodor to say that it was impossible to model certain higher level cognitive functions. (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.
Intentional systemstheory is in the first place an analysis of the meanings of such everyday ‘mentalistic’ terms as ‘believe,’ ‘desire,’ ‘expect,’ ‘decide,’ and ‘intend,’ the terms of ‘folk psychology’ (Dennett 1971) that we use to interpret, explain, and predict the behavior of other human beings, animals, some artifacts such as robots and computers, and indeed ourselves. In traditional parlance, we seem to be attributing minds to the things we thus interpret, and this raises a host of questions (...) about the conditions under which a thing can be truly said to have a mind, or to have beliefs, desires and other ‘mental’ states. According to intentional systemstheory, these questions can best be answered by analyzing the logical presuppositions and methods of our attribution practices, when we adopt the intentional stance toward something. Anything that is usefully and voluminously predictable from the intentional stance is, by definition, an intentional system. The intentional stance is the strategy of interpreting the behavior of an entity (person, animal, artifact, whatever) by treating it as if it were a rational agent who governed its ‘choice’ of ‘action’ by a ‘consideration’ of its ‘beliefs’ and ‘desires.’ The scare-quotes around all these terms draw attention to the fact that some of their standard connotations may be set aside in the interests of exploiting their central features: their role in practical reasoning, and hence in the prediction of the behavior of practical reasoners. (shrink)
In reworking a variety of biological concepts, Developmental SystemsTheory (DST) has made frequent use of parity of reasoning. We have done this to show, for instance, that factors that have similar sorts of impact on a developing organism tend nevertheless to be invested with quite different causal importance. We have made similar arguments about evolutionary processes. Together, these analyses have allowed DST not only to cut through some age-old muddles about the nature of development, but also to (...) effect a long-delayed reintegration of development into evolutionary theory. Our penchant for causal symmetry, however (or 'causal democracy', as it has recently been termed), has sometimes been misunderstood. This paper shows that causal symmetry is neither a platitude about multiple influences nor a denial of useful distinctions, but a powerful way of exposing hidden assumptions and opening up traditional formulations to fruitful change. (shrink)
Developmental systemstheory (DST) is a general theoretical perspective on development, heredity and evolution. It is intended to facilitate the study of interactions between the many factors that influence development without reviving `dichotomous' debates over nature or nurture, gene or environment, biology or culture. Several recent papers have addressed the relationship between DST and the thriving new discipline of evolutionary developmental biology (EDB). The contributions to this literature by evolutionary developmental biologists contain three important misunderstandings of DST.
By advocating an enlightened method of theorizing committed to thinking in terms of a system of differences, Luhmann has contributed to the development of sociology in a manner that cannot be praised enough. Nonetheless, he does not succeed in giving an account of his own position that satisfies the very logical preconditions that he himself has formulated for it. Instead, his systemstheory paradigm of sociology is based on metaphysical premises characteristic of the identity-logical thought of "Old Europe." (...) In fact, the only way to make Luh mann's approach truly comprehensible is to reconstruct it as a new version of Hegel's dialectic. (shrink)
Some central ideas associated with developmental systemstheory (DST) are outlined for non-specialists. These ideas concern the nature of biological development, the alleged distinction between "genetic" and "environmental" traits, the relations between organism and environment, and evolutionary processes. I also discuss some criticisms of the DST approach.
Social systemstheory has been dominated in recent years by the work of Niklas Luhmann, but there is another strand of systems thinking, which is receiving increasing attention in sociology: emergentism. For emergentism, the core problems of systems thinking are concerned with causation and reductionism; for Luhmann, they are questions of meaning and self-reference. Arguing from an emergentist perspective, the article finds that emergentism addresses its own core problem successfully, while Luhmann's approach is incapable of resolving (...) questions of causation and reductionism. On the other hand, neither paradigm yet has a convincing response to the challenges of meaning and self-reference. Key Words: social systems emergence paradigms autopoiesis critical realism. (shrink)
We define a mathematical formalism based on the concept of an ‘‘open dynamical system” and show how it can be used to model embodied cognition. This formalism extends classical dynamical systemstheory by distinguishing a ‘‘total system’’ (which models an agent in an environment) and an ‘‘agent system’’ (which models an agent by itself), and it includes tools for analyzing the collections of overlapping paths that occur in an embedded agent's state space. To illustrate the way this formalism (...) can be applied, several neural network models are embedded in a simple model environment. Such phenomena as masking, perceptual ambiguity, and priming are then observed. We also use this formalism to reinterpret examples from the embodiment literature, arguing that it provides for a more thorough analysis of the relevant phenomena. (shrink)
Bridging between psychological and neurobiological systems requires that the system components are closely specified at both the psychological and brain levels of analysis. We argue that in developing his dynamic systemstheory framework, Lewis has sidestepped the notion of a psychological level systems model altogether, and has taken a partisan approach to his exposition of a brain-level systems model.
The research methodologies of grounded theory and grounded action are framed by a systems perspective, from which they contribute their own unique properties and processes to the evolution of systems thinking. The author provides definitions for systems, theory, grounded theory, grounded action, and systems thinking, and explores the relationships between theory, grounded theory/grounded action, and systems thinking with regard to purpose, context, and usefulness for the resolution of social concerns and (...) systemic change. (shrink)
The author discusses Niklas Luhmann's concept of ethics and morals. Therefore he sketches the main traits of Luhmann's theory of systems (e.g. the terms autopoiesis, system and environment, code and programme). From the system-theoretical point of view, ethics are characterized as the reflexive theory of morals. Morals are described as the communication of regard or disregard. The author shows which consequences follow from this concept by discussing problems concerning several subsystems at the same time. The problems of (...) Luhmann's theory of morals and ethics are demonstrated by analyzing the concepts of risk and responsibility. Finally, the author demands that ethics should be understood even more as social ethics which reflect upon their social foundation in a more consequent way. (shrink)
Does systemstheory need rethinking? Most social scientists would probably say no. It had its run, was debated critically, and found wanting. If at all, it should be treated historically. Why then might systemstheory need rethinking, as the title of this symposium claims? The reason is that, unlike in the natural and biosocial sciences, any conception of system in the social sciences has remained suspect in the wake of problematic Parsonian and cybernetic systems theories. (...) The premise of this special issue is that abandoning conceptions of systems has imposed a high price on the social sciences: a lack of ontologies and methodologies that are both philosophically profound and scientifically defensible. It has left social scientists who choose to ignore ontology in their theoretical and empirical work defenseless against enterprising settlers from a variety of humanities and social science disciplines who attack mainstream work with—often simplistic and naïve, but nevertheless fundamental—philosophical arguments, whether anti-scientific postmodernists or pseudo-scientific rational choice theorists. The goal of this special issue is to showcase new and original work that contributes to a rethinking of systemstheory by taking the conception of systems seriously. This introduction offers a programmatic statement of a systemic ontology and methodology as well as a brief general outline and examples of what a systems-based approach in the social sciences entails. Key Words: systemstheory systemism systemic approach complexity theory self-organization emergentism paradigms social mechanisms Mario Bunge. (shrink)
In the first section of this paper I argue that the main reason why Daniel Dennett’s Intentional SystemsTheory (IST) has been perceived as behaviourist or antirealist is its inability to account for the causal efficacy of the mental. The rest of the paper is devoted to the claim that by emending the theory with a phenomenon called ‘empathic resonance’ (ER), it can account for the various explananda in the mental causation debate. Thus, IST + ER is (...) a much more viable option than IST, even though IST + ER assigns a crucial role to the phenomenology of agency, a role that is incompatible with Dennett’s writings on consciousness. (shrink)
It is often claimed (1) that levels of nature are related by supervenience, and (2) that processes occurring at particular levels of nature should be studied using dynamical systemstheory. However, there has been little consideration of how these claims are related. To address the issue, I show how supervenience relations give rise to ‘supervenience functions’, and use these functions to show how dynamical systems at different levels are related to one another. I then use this analysis (...) to describe a graded approach to non-reductive physicalism, and to critically assess Davidson’s arguments for psychological anomaly. I also show how this approach can inform empirical research in cognitive science. (shrink)
Millers Living SystemsTheory (LST) is known to be very comprehensive. It comprises eight nested hierarchical levels. It also includes twenty critical subsystems. While Millers approach has been analyzed and applied in great detail, some problematic features remain, requiring further explication. One of these is the relationship between reduction and emergence in LST. There are at least four relevant possibilities. One is that LST exhibits neither clear reductionism nor emergence, but is essentially neutral in this regard. Another is (...) that the apparent comprehensiveness of LST is illusory, as the approach remains vulnerable to reduction that could ultimately reduce it to a shadow of its present self. The charge of reductionism has been made by critics leading Miller to defend this theory vehemently as nonreductionist in nature. A third possibility is that LST is not reductionist, but is in fact an emergent theory. Miller makes this claim quite strongly. A fourth possibility, and in some ways the most analytically problematic, is that LST exhibits evidence of both reductionism and emergence simultaneously. Some critics might see this fourth situation as evidence of a troubling paradox or anomaly that must be resolved before further progress can be made in the explication and application of LST. The purpose of the paper is to remove this apparent anomaly. The paper removes this anomaly by differentiating between new-variable emergence and transformational emergence. No concrete evidence is found to contradict Milers claim of emergence in LST, and thus no true anomaly exists. (shrink)
In this article, I examine Luhmann’s, Bunge’s and others’ views on emergence, and argue that Luhmann’s epistemological construal of emergence in terms of Totalausschluss (total exclusion) is both ontologically flawed and detrimental to an appropriate understanding of the distinctive features of social emergence. By contrast, Bunge’s rational emergentism, his CESM model, and Wimsatt’s characterization of emergence as nonaggregativity provide a useful framework to investigate emergence. While researchers in the field of social theory and sociology tend to regard Luhmann as (...) the sole representative of systemstheory, the latter has been characterized by its diversity, and the writings of such systems theorists as Mario Bunge deserve more (critical) attention from social researchers than they receive at present. Finally, this article suggests that the perennial debate over methodological individualism and holism in social science may make real progress if such ambiguous terms as reduction and reductionism are elucidated before they are employed. (shrink)
Developmental SystemsTheory (DST) emphasises the importance of non-genetic factors in development and their relevance to evolution. A common, deflationary reaction is that it has long been appreciated that non-genetic factors are causally indispensable. This paper argues that DST can be reformulated to make a more substantive claim: that the special role played by genes is also played by some (but not all) non-genetic resources. That special role is to transmit inherited representations, in the sense of Shea (2007: (...) Biology and Philosophy, 22, 313-331). Formulating DST as the claim that there are non-genetic inherited representations turns it into a striking, empirically-testable hypothesis, driving the sort of investigations that are only now beginning to appear in the scientific literature. DST’s characteristic rejection of a gene vs. environment dichotomy is preserved, but without dissolving all potentially explanatory distinctions into an interactionist causal soup, as some have alleged. (shrink)
Based on an analysis of the origins and characteristics of Intelligent Design (ID), this essay discusses the related issues of probability and irreducible complexity. From the viewpoint of complex systemstheory, I suggest that Intelligent Design is not, as certain advocates claim, the only reasonable approach for dealing with the current difficulties of evolutionary biology.
SystemsTheory is best understood in its dual nature as an episode in the generic development of human understanding of the world, and as the specific product of its social history. On the one hand it is a "moment" in the investigation of complex systems, the place between the formulation of a problem and the interpretation of its solution where mathematical modeling can make the obscure obvious. On the other hand it is the attempt of a reductionist (...) scientific tradition to come to terms with complexity, non-linearity and change through sophisticated mathematical and computational techniques, a groping toward a more dialectical understanding that is held back both by its philosophical biases and by the institutional and economic contexts of its development. (shrink)
Lewis describes the developmental core of dynamic systemstheory. I offer recent data from developmental neuroscience on the sequential experience-dependent maturation of components of the limbic system over the stages of infancy. Increasing interconnectivity within the vertically integrated limbic system allows for more complex appraisals of emotional value. The earliest organization of limbic structures has an enduring impact on all later emotional processing.
Besides their skepticism about universal reason and universal morality, the Frankfurt Schools of Critical SystemsTheory and Critical Theory share basic assumptions: (1) the thinking in societal-systemic, institutional concepts, which transcend simple reciprocal relations by dint of their complexity; (2) the assumption that society is based on fundamental paradoxes, antagonisms, antinomies; (3) the strategy to conceptualize justice as a contingent and transcendental formula; (4) the form of immanent (and not morality-based, external) critique as an attitude of transcendence; (...) (5) the aim of societal (and not only political) emancipation in an ‘association of free individuals’ (Marx). The article focuses on those parallels and aims to conceptualize a critical turn-around of autopoietic systemstheory. (shrink)
Dynamic systemstheory is a way of describing the patterns that emerge from relationships in the universe. In the study of interpersonal relationships, within and between species, the scientist is an active and engaged participant in those relationships. Separation between self and other, scientist and subject, runs counter to systems thinking and creates an unnecessary divide between humans and animals.
Philosophers of science have used various formulations of the "random mutation--natural selection" scheme to explain the development of scientific knowledge. But the uncritical acceptance of this evolutionary model has led to substantive problems concerning the relation between fact and theory. The primary difficulty lies in the fact that those who adopt this model (Popper and Kuhn, for example) are led to claim that theories arise chiefly through the processes of relatively random change. Systemstheory constitutes a general (...) criticism of this model insofar as it demonstrates the necessity of supplementing this mechanism with the non-random influences exercised by the internal organization of a system on its own development. (shrink)
On an influential account, chaos is explained in terms of random behaviour; and random behaviour in turn is explained in terms of having positive Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy (KSE). Though intuitively plausible, the association of the KSE with random behaviour needs justification since the definition of the KSE does not make reference to any notion that is connected to randomness. I provide this justification for the case of Hamiltonian systems by proving that the KSE is equivalent to a generalized version of (...) Shannon's communication-theoretic entropy under certain plausible assumptions. I then discuss consequences of this equivalence for randomness in chaotic dynamical systems. Introduction Elements of dynamical systemstheory Entropy in communication theory Entropy in dynamical systemstheory Comparison with other accounts Product versus process randomness. (shrink)
This article reinterprets the Kelsen-Schmitt debate in the context of social systemstheory and rethinks its major concepts as part of legal and political self-reference and systemic differentiation. In Kelsen?s case, it is the exclusion of sovereignty from juridical logic that opens a way to the self-reference of positive law. Similarly, Schmitt constructed his concept of the political as a self-referential system of political operations protected from the social environment by the medium of power. The author argues that (...) the process of legal and political globalisation rules out the possibility of formulating substantive theories of the state associating this particular social organisation with metaphysical values and a self-validating collective identity. Kelsen and Schmitt continue to inspire current theories of non-metaphysical globalised law and politics. However, the constitutional state and sovereignty need to be reformulated as a meeting point of functionally differentiated and globalised legal and political communications and not as their ultimate end. (shrink)
Dynamic systemstheory (DS) provides tools for exploring how simpler elements can interact to produce complex psychological configurations. It may, as Lewis demonstrates, provide means for explicating relationships between two reductionist approaches to overlapping sets of phenomena. The result is a description of psychological phenomena at a level that begins to achieve the richness we would hope to achieve in examining psychological life as it is experienced and explored in psychoanalysis.
A systemstheory for chemistry is proposed in order to provide a general framework, which covers different theoretical approaches used in the molecular sciences.The basic elements of systemstheory are introduced and discussed.By construction, this systems chemistry offers classification and categorizationschemes that will help to identify the range of applicability of certain theoretical approachesas well as to find yet unanswered fundamental questions. Consequently, it will be of value not only to thosewho want to understand and (...) study the structure of chemistry, but it might also be of importance to daily research in chemistry. (shrink)
This article addresses the relationship between the structuralism, especially the anthropological version of the latter in Levi-Strauss and Luhmann’s theory of social systems. The analysis is done through two guiding hypotheses. It reviews the historical background relating structuralism with systemstheory and discusses the fundamental concepts that appear in this relationship. Luhmann's systems thinking are contrasted in some of its central concepts with Lévi-Strauss’s structuralist perspective. The paper concludes with a review of the hypotheses presented (...) and some proposals about the perspective of the social systems. El presente artículo aborda las relaciones entre el pensamiento estructuralista, especialmente la variante antropológica de éste en Lévi-Strauss y la teoría de sistemas sociales de Luhmann. El análisis se hace a través de dos hipótesis que guían el desarrollo del texto. Se revisan los antecedentes históricos que relacionan al estructuralismo con la teoría de sistemas y se analizan los conceptos fundamentales que aparecen en esta relación. Posteriormente el pensamiento sistémico de Luhmann se contrasta a partir de algunos de sus conceptos centrales con la perspectiva estructuralista de Lévi-Strauss. El trabajo concluye con una revisión de las hipótesis presentadas y con reflexiones globales acerca de la perspectiva de los sistemas sociales. (shrink)
The Developmental SystemsTheory (DST) presented by its proponents as a challenging approach in biology is aimed at transforming the workings of the life sciences from both a theoretical and experimental point of view (see, in particular, Oyama  2000; Oyama et al. 2001). Even though some may have the impression that the enthusiasm surrounding DST has faded in very recent years, some of the key concepts, ideas, and visions of DST have in fact pervaded biology and philosophy (...) of biology. It seems crucial to us both to establish which of these ideas are truly specific to DST, and to sift through these ideas in order to determine the criticisms they have drawn, or may draw (e.g., Sterelny et al. 1996; Griesemer 2000; Sterelny 2000; Kitcher 2001; Keller 2005; Waters 2007). (shrink)
SystemsTheory analyses the world in terms of communications and divides the natural world into environment and systems. Systems are characterised by their high density of communications and tend to become more complex and efficient with time, usually by means of increased specialisation and coordinationof functions.Management is an organisational sub-system which models all necessary aspects of organisational activity such that this model may be used for monitoring, prediction and planning of the organisation as a whole. The (...) function of a specific management system depends on its history of selection by interactions with theenvironment (which includes other systems). The main function of a management system will be a consequence of the most powerful and sustained selection pressure it has experienced.SystemsTheory implies a management science which is quantitative and comparative. It is quantitative because it is based upon the measurement and mapping of communications as the basis of analysis; it is comparative because evaluations relate to specific variables measured in a specific spatio-temporal contextand subjected to analytic processes of constrained complexity.Selection processes are broadly responsible for the dominance of management in contemporary Western societies. The complexity of management systems will probably continue to increase for as long as the efficiency-enhancing potential of complexity outweighs its increased transaction costs. (shrink)
Academic social scientists and professional practitioners could increase the effectiveness of their undertakings to advance positive change toward solving social and organizational problems by more effectively combining their efforts. Historically, both realms have used reductionist techniques and methodologies that are unsuited for understanding and solving problems in social and organizational systems. Their efforts could be significantly enhanced by using a grounded theory/grounded action approach. Grounded theory/grounded action is designed to generate explanations directly from data that provide a (...) theoretical foothold for effecting optimal and sustainable change in social and organizational systems. (shrink)
One of the great challenges of the modern world is the control and management of complexity. After the infinitely large and the infinitely small, we once again find ourselves confronting an unfathomable infinite?the infinitely complex. With its capability for simulation, the computer has become a macroscope. It helps us understand complexity and act on it more effectively to build and manage the large systems of which we are the cells?companies, cities, economies, societies, ecosystems. Thanks to this macroscope, a new (...) vision of the world is emerging, based on a unified approach to the self-organization and evolution of complex systems. On the basis of this comprehensive vision, it becomes possible to describe the origin of a new form of life on Earth, a planetary macro-organism made up of human beings and machines, networks, and nations?a still-embryonic macro-organism that is trying to live in symbiosis with the planetary ecosystem. This new vision of the world brings together two complementary modes of analysis and action: the analytic method and the systemic approach. It can be called the unified theory of the self-organization and dynamics of complex systems. More concisely, one can propose the term symbionomics to describe the range of phenomena covered by this unified theory. Symbionomics can be defined as the study of the emergence of complex systems through self-organization, self-selection, coevolution, and symbiosis. Symbiotic relationships form through coevolution with other organisms or organizations, and collective properties emerge. This information is transmitted to succeeding generations through the memorization of structures and reproductive and evolutionary mechanisms by means of chemical or electronic coding or by the culture. A complex organization is born. From a symbionomic perspective, it is then possible to trace the essential phases of the emergence of a new form of life on Earth, a macrolife, of which humanity, this time, is not the evolutionary end point, but the starting point and catalyst. (shrink)
In this paper we describe the nature and problems of business and define one aspect of the business environment. We then propose a framework based on augmented soft systems methodology and object technology that captures both the soft and hard aspects of a business environment within the context of organisational culture. We also briefly discuss cognitive informatics and its relevance to understanding problems and solutions. Pólya's work, which is based around solving mathematical problems, is considered within the context of (...) information systems development. We propose a generic reusable business object model based on general systemstheory. We also show how these approaches can be integrated to provide a strategy for understanding business problems and developing integrated solutions. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Observing Environments” by Hugo F. Alrøe & Egon Noe. Upshot: We discuss the environmental terminology of Jakob von Uexküll in the context of Alrøe Egon Noe’s reflections, and to examine more deeply the multi-perspectivity that arises from a combination of von Uexküll’s and Luhmann’s systems theories. The complexity yielded by an unpacking of the term “environment” sheds light on the difficulties in finding common understandings for solving wicked problems.
This article contributes to the revision of the concept of system in social theory using complexity theory. The old concept of social system is widely discredited; a new concept of social system can more adequately constitute an explanatory framework. Complexity theory offers the toolkit needed for this paradigm shift in social theory. The route taken is not via Luhmann, but rather the insights of complexity theorists in the sciences are applied to the tradition of social (...) class='Hi'>theory inspired by Marx, Weber, and Simmel. The article contributes to the theorization of intersectionality in social theory as well as to the philosophy of social science. It addresses the challenge of theorizing the intersection of multiple complex social inequalities, exploring the various alternative approaches, before rethinking the concept of social system. It investigates and applies, for the first time, the implications of complexity theory for the analysis of multiple intersecting social inequalities. Key Words: complexity theory inequality intersectionality social theory. (shrink)
This paper details an evolving dynamic systems hierarchy and explores its relationship with conceptual, evolutionary, physiological, and behavioural characteristics that include phenomenal experience. In doing this, the paper demonstrates an example of a type-C physicalist's reductive explanation of phenomenal experience that is coherent with stipulated philosophical criteria and theories. By providing a reductive explanation of phenomenal experience, the paper provides insights toward explaining many unique human characteristics. These include, creativity, the origins of language as distinct from animal communication, the (...) evolution of morality, and the dynamics behind bias and prejudice. Furthermore, the reductive explanation provides foundations for artificial consciousness applications. (shrink)
Within identity control theory (ICT), identities control meaning and resources by bringing perceptions of these in the situation into alignment with references levels given in the identity standard. This article seeks to resolve three issues in ICT having to do with the source of the identity standard, the correspondence between identity standards and the identity relevant meanings perceived in the situation or environment, and the activation of identities. Classifier systems, as developed by John Holland, are inductive, flexible, rule-based, (...) message-passing, adaptive systems that are able to learn, to fit in, and to adapt to various and changing environments. Classifier systems are introduced and are extended to incorporate the central components of the model of identity as held in ICT. In this manner, a new identity model is proposed that has inductive and adaptive capacities able to resolve the three issues identified. Unexpectedly, the new model also lays the groundwork for the possible resolution of a long-standing issue within the symbolic interaction framework concerning the origins of shared meanings. (shrink)
In this commentary, we question (1) how embodied Thelen et al.'s model is relative to their aims, and (2) how embodied the behavior of children is in particular response systems, relative to how much dynamic systemstheory emphasizes this idea. We close with corrections to mischaracterizations of an alternative, neural network perspective on infant behavior.
A novel conceptual framework is introduced for the Complexity Levels Theory in a Categorical Ontology of Space and Time. This conceptual and formal construction is intended for ontological studies of Emergent Biosystems, Super-complex Dynamics, Evolution and Human Consciousness. A claim is defended concerning the universal representation of an item’s essence in categorical terms. As an essential example, relational structures of living organisms are well represented by applying the important categorical concept of natural transformations to biomolecular reactions and relational structures (...) that emerge from the latter in living systems. Thus, several relational theories of living systems can be represented by natural transformations of organismic, relational structures. The ascent of man and other living organisms through adaptation, is viewed in novel categorical terms, such as variable biogroupoid representations of evolving species. Such precise but flexible evolutionary concepts will allow the further development of the unifying theme of local-to-global approaches to highly complex systems in order to represent novel patterns of relations that emerge in super- and ultra-complex systems in terms of compositions of local procedures. Solutions to such local-to-global problems in highly complex systems with ‘broken symmetry’ might be possible to be reached with the help of higher homotopy theorems in algebraic topology such as the generalized van Kampen theorems (HHvKT). Categories of many-valued, Łukasiewicz-Moisil (LM) logic algebras provide useful concepts for representing the intrinsic dynamic ‘asymmetry’ of genetic networks in organismic development and evolution, as well as to derive novel results for (non-commutative) Quantum Logics. Furthermore, as recently pointed out by Baianu and Poli (Theory and applications of ontology, vol 1. Springer, Berlin, in press), LM-logic algebras may also provide the appropriate framework for future developments of the ontological theory of levels with its complex/entangled/intertwined ramifications in psychology, sociology and ecology. As shown in the preceding two papers in this issue, a paradigm shift towards non-commutative, or non-Abelian, theories of highly complex dynamics—which is presently unfolding in physics, mathematics, life and cognitive sciences—may be implemented through realizations of higher dimensional algebras in neurosciences and psychology, as well as in human genomics, bioinformatics and interactomics. (shrink)
Efforts to bridge emotion theory with neurobiology can be facilitated by dynamic systems (DS) modeling. DS principles stipulate higher-order wholes emerging from lower-order constituents through bidirectional causal processes – offering a common language for psychological and neurobiological models. After identifying some limitations of mainstream emotion theory, I apply DS principles to emotion–cognition relations. I then present a psychological model based on this reconceptualization, identifying trigger, self-amplification, and self-stabilization phases of emotion-appraisal states, leading to consolidating traits. The article (...) goes on to describe neural structures and functions involved in appraisal and emotion, as well as DS mechanisms of integration by which they interact. These mechanisms include nested feedback interactions, global effects of neuromodulation, vertical integration, action-monitoring, and synaptic plasticity, and they are modeled in terms of both functional integration and temporal synchronization. I end by elaborating the psychological model of emotion–appraisal states with reference to neural processes. Key Words: appraisal; bidirectional causality; cognition; dynamic systems; emotion; neurobiology; part–whole relations; self-organization. (shrink)
Of all contemporary social theorists, Luhmann has best understood the centrality of the concept of meaning to social theory and has most extensively worked out the notion's implications. However, despite the power of his theory, the theory suffers from difficulties impeding its reception. This article attempts to remedy this situation with some critical arguments and proposals for revision. First, the theory Luhmann adopted from biology as the basis of his own theory was a poor choice (...) since that theory has no explanatory power, being purely descriptive; furthermore, that theory is fundamentally flawed since it implies that viruses are impossible. Second, Luhmann's theory of meaning cannot coherently make the social domain autonomous as he desires since Luhmann does not take into account the distinction between syntax and semantics. By introducing this distinction, making clear that social systems consist of rules, not just communications, and raising the rule concept to the same prominence in social theory as those of actor and system, autonomy can be maintained while avoiding the counterintuitive aspects of Luhmann's theory. (shrink)
Four requirements are suggested for an axiomatic system S to provide the foundations of category theory: (R1) S should allow us to construct the category of all structures of a given kind (without restriction), such as the category of all groups and the category of all categories; (R2) It should also allow us to construct the category of all functors between any two given categories including the ones constructed under (R1); (R3) In addition, S should allow us to establish (...) the existence of the usual basic mathematical structures and carry out the usual set-theoretical operations; and (R4) S should be shown to be consistent relative to currently accepted systems of set theory. This paper explains how all but parts of (R3) can be met using a system S extending NFU enriched by a stratified pairing operation; to meet more of (R3) a stronger system S∗ is introduced, but there are still some real obstacles to meeting this requirement in full. For (R4) it is sketched how both S and S∗ are shown to be consistent. (shrink)
Part I [sections 2–4] draws out the conceptual links between modern conceptions of teleology and their Aristotelian predecessor, briefly outlines the mode of functional analysis employed to explicate teleology, and develops the notion of cybernetic organisation in order to distinguish teleonomic and teleomatic systems. Part II is concerned with arriving at a coherent notion of intentional control. Section 5 argues that intentionality is to be understood in terms of the representational properties of cybernetic systems. Following from this, section (...) 6 argues that intentional control needs to be seen as a particular type of relationship between the system and its environment. (shrink)
The theoretical approach described in a series of articles (Jarvilehto, 1998a,b,c, 1999, 2000) is developed further in relation to the problems of emotion, consciousness, and brain activity. The approach starts with the claim that many conceptual confusions in psychology are due to the postulate that the organism and the environment are two interacting systems (”Two systemstheory”). The gist of the approach is the idea that the organism and environment form a unitary system which is the basis (...) of subjective experience. This starting point leads to the conception of emotions as reorganization of the organism-environment system, and entails that emotion and knowledge are only different aspects of the same process. In the first part of the article the general outline of the approach is sketched, and in a subsequent second part (Jarvilehto, 2001) the relations between emotions, consciousness, and brain activity will be discussed in detail. (shrink)
Although emotion may subserve social function, as with anger-maintaining dominance, emotions are more than variant cognitions. Anger promotes risk-taking, attention-narrowing, and cognitive impairment. The proposition that appraised “blameworthiness” is necessary for anger excludes young children's anger as well as adults' pain-induced anger. To be complete, any systems model of anger must account for its temporal characteristics, including escalation and persistence.
Theorizing about religious ritual systems from a cognitive viewpoint involves (1) modeling cognitive processes and their products and (2) demonstrating their influence on religious behavior. Particularly important for such an approach to the study of religious ritual is the modeling of participants' representations of ritual form. In pursuit of that goal, we presented in Rethinking Religion a theory of religious ritual form that involved two commitments. The theory’s first commitment is that the cognitive apparatus for the representation (...) of action in general is the same system deployed for the representation of religious ritual form. The differences between everyday action and religious ritual action turn out to be fairly minor from the standpoint of their cognitive representation. This system for the representation of action includes representations of agents. Whether we focus on an everyday action such as closing a door or a ritual action such as initiating a person into a religious group, our understanding of these forms of behavior as actions at all turns critically on recognizing agents. The theory's second crucial commitment (1990, p. 61) is that the roles of culturally postulated superhuman agents (CPS-agents hereafter) in participants' representations of religious rituals will prove pivotal in accounting for a wide variety of those rituals' properties. On our view religious ritual systems typically involve presumptions about CPS-agents. This theoretical commitment is orthogonal to the pervasive assumption throughout the study of religion that only meanings matter. By contrast, we hold that other things matter too (specifically, cognitive representations of religious ritual form). Large conflicts lurk behind the previous sentences but we cannot adequately address them here. For now we will only identify two of the most fundamental and comment on them briefly. First, amazingly (by our lights anyway), our claim that (conceptual) commitments to the existence of CPS-agents is the most important recurrent feature of religion across cultures is quite controversial.. (shrink)
Lewis's dynamical systems emotion theory continues a tradition including Merleau-Ponty, von Bertallanfy, and Aristotle. Understandably for a young theory, Lewis's new predictions do not follow strictly from the theory; thus their failure would not disconfirm the theory, nor their success confirm it – especially given that other self-organizational approaches to emotion (e.g., those of Ellis and of Newton) may not be inconsistent with these same predictions.
The grounded theory research method embodies a crucial element of postmodernist thinking due to its aversion to theory verification and its ability to imbue analysts with the power to discover theory. These processes closely mirror systems thinking because they allow for holistic examination. Postmodern systems thinking combines the worldview of postmodernism with systems thinking, creating a mechanism that is both respectful to the variations of human interaction and the need for "de-compartmentalizing" complex systems. (...) The postmodern systems thinking framework united with grounded action research could be a potent approach for the dissemination of localized, culture-specific ideas in countries susceptible to Western hegemony. (shrink)
Function refers to a broad family of concepts of varying abstractness and range of application, from a many-one mathematical relation of great generality to, for example, highly specialized roles of designed elements in complex machines such as degaussing in a television set, or contributory processes to control mechanisms in complex metabolic pathways, such as the inhibitory function of the appropriate part of the lac-operon on the production of lactase through its action on the genome in the absence of lactose. We (...) would like a language broad enough, neutral enough, but yet powerful enough to cover all such cases, and at the same time to give a framework form explanation both of the family resemblances and differences. General logic and mathematics are too abstract, but more importantly, too broad, whereas other discourses of function, such as the biological and teleological contexts, are too narrow. Information is especially suited since it is mathematically grounded, but also has a wellknown physical interpretation through the Schr dinger/Brillouin Negentropy Principle of Information, and an engineering or design interpretation through Shannon's communication theory. My main focus will be on the functions of autonomous anticipatory systems, but I will try to demonstrate both the connections between this notion of function and the others, especially to dynamical systems with a physical interpretation on the one side and intentional systems on the other. The former are based in concepts like force, energy and work, while the latter involve notions like representation, control and purpose, traditionally, at least in Modern times, on opposite sides of the Cartesian divide. In principle, information can be reduced to energy, but it has the advantage of being more flexible, and easier to apply to higher level phenomena. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to present in a uniform way the commutator theory for k-deductive system of arbitrary positive dimension k. We are interested in the logical perspective of the research — an emphasis is put on an analysis of the interconnections holding between the commutator and logic. This research thus qualifies as belonging to abstract algebraic logic, an area of universal algebra that explores to a large extent the methods provided by the general theory of (...) deductive systems. In the paper the new term ‘commutator formula’ is introduced. The paper is concerned with the meanings of the above term in the models provided by the commutator theory and clarifies contexts in which these meanings occur. The work is presented in an abstracted form: main ideas are outlined but proofs are deferred to the second part of the paper. (shrink)
Subjective experience is transformed into objective reality for societal members through cultural idea systems that can be represented with theory and data models. A theory model shows relationships and their logical implications that structure a cultural idea system. A data model expresses patterning found in ethnographic observations regarding the behavioral implementation of cultural idea systems. An example of this duality for modeling cultural idea systems is illustrated with Arabic proverbs that structurally link friend and enemy (...) as concepts through a culturally defined computational system. Computational systems also generate new concepts, as will be illustrated through a theory model for the structure of a .. (shrink)
In papers published between 1930 and 1935. Zermelo outlines a foundational program, with infinitary logic at its heart, that is intended to (1) secure axiomatic set theory as a foundation for arithmetic and analysis and (2) show that all mathematical propositions are decidable. Zermelo's theory of systems of infinitely long propositions may be termed "Cantorian" in that a logical distinction between open and closed domains plays a signal role. Well-foundedness and strong inaccessibility are used to systematically integrate (...) highly transfinite concepts of demonstrability and existence. Zermelo incompleteness is then the analogue of the Problem of Proper Classes, and the resolution of these two anomalies is similarly analogous. (shrink)
We present a theoretical discussion of the sociological contribution concerning decisions in organizations. Two theories stand. The first, based on the decision process from a critical theory of the traditional linear multi rational by Lucien Sfez, argues that the decision is a process of interactions and treats it as an institutional process based on the freedom of the subject. The second theory based on self-referential systems by Niklas Luhmann, interprets organizations as systems-making, and understands the concept (...) of decision as purely epistemological specificity, abstracted from the decision of all the elements and organizational variables associated with it. Se expone un debate teórico sobre la aportación sociológica referente a las decisiones en las organizaciones. Sobresalen dos teorías de las decisiones. La primera, basada en el proceso de decisión a partir una teoría crítica de la multirracionalidad lineal elaborado por Lucien Sfez, al plantear que con la decisión se trata de un proceso de interacciones, al ser considerada como un proceso institucional fundamentado en la libertad del sujeto. La segunda fundamentada en la teoría de sistemas autorreferenciales, interpreta las organizaciones como sistemas de decisiones y entiende el concepto de decisión en su especificidad puramente epistemológica, al abstraer de la decisión de todos los elementos y variables organizacionales relacionados con ella (Niklas Luhmann). (shrink)
In Russell''s Ramified Theory of Types RTT, two hierarchical concepts dominate:orders and types. The use of orders has as a consequencethat the logic part of RTT is predicative.The concept of order however, is almost deadsince Ramsey eliminated it from RTT. This is whywe find Church''s simple theory of types (which uses the type concept without the order one) at the bottom of the Barendregt Cube rather than RTT. Despite the disappearance of orders which have a strong correlation with (...) predicativity, predicative logic still plays an influential role in Computer Science.An important example is the proof checker Nuprl, which is basedon Martin-Löf''s Type Theory which uses type universes. Those type universes,and also degrees of expressions in AUTOMATH, are closely related toorders. In this paper, we show that orders have not disappeared from modern logic and computer science, rather, orders play a crucial role in understanding the hierarchy of modern systems. In order to achieve our goal, we concentrate on a subsystem of Nuprl.The novelty of our paper lies in: (1) a modest revival of Russell's orders, (2) the placing of the historical system RTT underlying the famous Principia Mathematica in a context with a modern system of computer mathematics (Nuprl) and modern type theories (Martin-Löf''s type theory and PTSs), and (3) the presentation of acomplex type system (Nuprl) as a simple and compact PTS. (shrink)
RESUMEN: Giving Reasons pretende ofrecer una aproximación no solo precisa, sino comprensiva, a una teoría sistemática de la argumentación. A la luz de una distinción de Vaz Ferreira entre «pensar por sistemas» y «pensar por ideas a tener en cuenta», me gustaría hacer unas observaciones para complementar y, digamos, “abrir” la incipiente clausura teórica del sistema lingüístico-pragmático de Giving Reasons. Voy a considerar dos casos en particular: el tratamiento del concepto mismo de argumentación y la conversión del principio de cooperación (...) y las máximas de Grice en una especie de marco sistemático donde cabe encajar y acomodar el estudio de las falacias.ABSTRACT: Giving Reasons aims to provide an approach not only accurate, but comprehensive, to a systematic theory of argumentation. In the light of a distinction made by Vaz Ferreira between «thinking through systems» and «thinking through ideas to be taken into account», I would like to make some comments in order to provide a certain balance and somehow “open” the inchoative theoretical closure of the linguistic-pragmatic system offered in Giving Reasons. I am going to consider two cases in particular: the treatment of the very concept of argumentation and the transformation of Grice’s Cooperative principle and Maxims into a sort of systematic framework to be applied to the study of fallacies. (shrink)
The objective of this paper is to analyse, from a philosophical perspective, the 16th and 17th Century models of currency, as well as their influence on the types of society in which the models developed. For this, the author values the study by the French philosopher Michael Foucault Words and Things on this matter and the principal foundations of Ludwig von Bertalanffy´s systemstheory. The 17th Century model of currency is based on the notion of a system of (...) exchange. The notion of a system of exchange represents a transformation of great significance, upon which the principal characteristics of our current globalised era are founded, not only in economic life, but also in relation to an understanding of the world that it implies. Furthermore, the notion of a system of exchange was the step before the current model of electronic payments of the digital era, in which large transactions (and also large data transfers) take place by pressing a button. The principal idea of the paper is that these economic practices hold the key to deepen a philosophical and historical comprehension of concepts such as globalisation. (shrink)
: This paper juxtaposes Deleuze's notion of the virtual alongside Oyama's notion of a developmental system in order to explore the promises and perils of thinking bodily identity as indeterminate at a time when new technologies render bodily ambiguity increasingly productive of both economic profit and power relations.
The problem of knowledge has been centred around the study of the content of our consciousness, seeing the world through internal representation, without any satisfactory account of the operations of nature that would be a pre-condition for our own performances in terms of concept efficiency in organizing action externally. If we want to better understand where and how meaning fits in nature, we have to find the proper way to decipher its organization, and account for the fact that we have (...) found codes and replicators operating at a deep levels of analysis. Informational analysis deals with units of organizational stability but it takes them for granted and leaves open the question of their origin. Patterns are used when we recognize the same configurations at different places and try to explain through their recurrence, yet to make sense of the presence of signals and counter-balancing mechanisms disseminated in nature, a hypothesis is offered to the effect that feedback signals would have a role to play in the coming about of a world that is open to new configurations and submitted to a form of stability that is more attuned to system laws than overarching unrevisable ones. (shrink)
Although we applaud the interactivist approach to language and communication taken in the target article, we notice that Shanker & King (S&K) give little attention to the theoretical frameworks developed by dynamical system theorists. We point out how the dynamical idea of causality, viewed as multidirectional across multiple scales of organization, could further strengthen the position taken in the target article.
Several proponents of the interventionist theory of causation have recently argued for a neo-Russellian account of causation. The paper discusses two strategies for interventionists to be neo-Russellians. Firstly, I argue that the open systems argument – the main argument for a neo-Russellian account advocated by interventionists – fails. Secondly, I explore and discuss an alternative for interventionists who wish to be neo-Russellians: the statistical mechanical account. Although the latter account is an attractive alternative, it is argued that interventionists (...) are not able to adopt it straightforwardly. Hence, to be neo-Russellians remains a challenge to interventionists. (shrink)
So far, the sciences of complexity have received less attention from philosophers than from scientists. Responding to Salthe’s (Found Sci 15, 4(6):357–367, 2010a ) model of evolution, I focus on its metaphysical implications, asking whether the implications of his canonical developmental trajectory (CDT) must be materialistic as his reading proposes.
This paper considers Roberto Unger's views on legal reasoning. His account is defended against two misplaced attacks. The first critique is by Emilios Christodoulidis. Using the language of systemstheory, Christodoulidis contends that Unger's programme of democratic experimentalism cannot be achieved through law, as the constitutive structure of the legal system is immune to politics. Christodoulidis accuses Unger of attempting to reduce law to politics. It will be argued, however, that Unger does no such thing. The second attack (...) holds that Unger's criticisms of objectivism apply to his own democratic vision and that, as a result, he cannot promote this vision without self-contradiction. Again, it will be argued that this criticism rests on a misunderstanding of Unger's views. The paper concludes with a tentative objection to the substantive proposals of Unger's work, suggesting that they ought to be replaced by a pluralist account of value. (shrink)
The history of the relationship between Christian theology and the natural sciences has been conditioned by the initial decision of the masters of the "first scientific revolution" to disregard any necessary explanatory premiss to account for the constituting organization and the framing of naturally occurring entities. Not paying any attention to hierarchical control, they ended-up disseminating a vision and understanding in which it was no longer possible for a theology of nature to send questions in the direction of the experimental (...) sciences, as was done in the past between theology and many philosophically-based thought-systems. Presenting the history of some hinge-periods in the development of the Western-world sciences, this book first sets out to consider the conceptual revolution which has, in the 20th Century, related consciousness, physical laws and levels of organization, in order to show that a new chance existed then for theology. This discourse was invited to revise its language to open it up to the quest for meaning which we find on the periphery of the project of the experimental sciences. The Century-old reflection on the foundations of probability had prepared the ground for the introduction of the concept of information, at first linked to an effort aimed at maximizing the efficiency of electromagnetic communications. Taking the full measure of the questions that information theory poses to the biological sciences, this work attempts to identify the areas of convergence setting the stage for general systemstheory, while it also tries to identify the insufficiencies of this recent vision and to highlight the questions left unanswered. Re-reading some of the traditional proofs of God's existence from the order of the world, relying on some pioneering insights of Ludwig von Bertalanffy and Norbert Wiener, the author brings those proofs and insights in contact with the fascinating initial project of cybernetics and the elements of a "mythical" nature which, from its inception, it could never entirely eliminate. This book ends with the confrontation between the conceptually most extended regulation factors in the history of Western thought. It articulates the poetic utopia concerned with an immediate grasp of the world in its "deictic" character with the concurrent one aimed at the domination over matter and energy expressed by technology's driving rational utopia. (shrink)
To make possible the integration proposed by Domjan et al., psychologists first need to close the research gap between behavioral ecology and the study of Pavlovian conditioning. I suggest two strategies, namely, to adopt more behavioral ecological approaches to social behavior or to co-opt problems already addressed by behavioral ecologists that are especially well suited to the study of Pavlovian conditioning.
I critically assess two widely cited evolutionary biological arguments for two versions of the ‘Extended Mind Thesis’ (EMT): namely, an argument appealing to Dawkins’s ‘Extended Phenotype Thesis’ (EPT) and an argument appealing to ‘Developmental SystemsTheory’ (DST). Specifically, I argue that, firstly, appealing to the EPT is not useful for supporting the EMT (in either version), as it is structured and motivated too differently from the latter to be able to corroborate or elucidate it. Secondly, I extend and (...) defend Rupert’s argument that DST also fails to support or elucidate the EMT (in either version) by showing that the considerations in favour of the former theory have no bearing on the truth of the latter. I conclude by noting that the relevance of this discussion goes beyond the debate surrounding the EMT, as it brings out some of the difficulties of introducing evolutionary biological considerations into debates in psychology and philosophy more generally. (shrink)