This book explains the relationship between intelligence and environmental complexity, and in so doing links philosophy of mind to more general issues about the relations between organisms and environments, and to the general pattern of 'externalist' explanations. The author provides a biological approach to the investigation of mind and cognition in nature. In particular he explores the idea that the function of cognition is to enable agents to deal with environmental complexity. The history of the idea in the (...) work of Dewey and Spencer is considered, as is the impact of recent evolutionary theory on our understanding of the place of mind in nature. (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.
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 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)
Standard semantic theories predict that non-deictic readings for complex demonstratives should be much more widely available than they in fact are. If such readings are the result of a lexical ambiguity, as Kaplan (1977) and others suggest, we should expect them to be available wherever a definite description can be used. The same prediction follows from ‘hidden argument’ theories like the ones described by King (2001) and Elbourne (2005). Wolter (2006), however, has shown that complex demonstratives admit non-deictic interpretations only (...) when a precise set of structural constrains are met. In this paper, I argue that Wolter’s results, properly understood, upend the philosophical status quo. They fatally undermine the ambiguity theory and demand a fundamental rethinking of the hidden argument approach. (shrink)
The complex systems approach to cognitive science invites a new understanding of extended cognitive systems. According to this understanding, extended cognitive systems are heterogenous, composed of brain, body, and niche, non-linearly coupled to one another. This view of cognitive systems, as non-linearly coupled brain–body–niche systems, promises conceptual and methodological advances. In this article we focus on two of these. First, the fundamental interdependence among brain, body, and niche makes it possible to explain extended cognition without invoking representations or computation. Second, (...) cognition and conscious experience can be understood as a single phenomenon, eliminating fruitless philosophical discussion of qualia and the so-called hard problem of consciousness. What we call “extended phenomenological-cognitive systems” are relational and dynamical entities, with interactions among heterogeneous parts at multiple spatial and temporal scales. (shrink)
This fine collection of essays by a leading philosopher of science presents a defence of integrative pluralism as the best description for the complexity of scientific inquiry today. The tendency of some scientists to unify science by reducing all theories to a few fundamental laws of the most basic particles that populate our universe is ill-suited to the biological sciences, which study multi-component, multi-level, evolved complex systems. This integrative pluralism is the most efficient way to understand the different and (...) complex processes - historical and interactive - that generate biological phenomena. This book will be of interest to students and professionals in the philosophy of science. (shrink)
The brains of higher mammals are extraordinary integrative devices. Signals from large numbers of functionally specialized groups of neurons distributed over many brain regions are integrated to generate a coherent, multimodal scene. Signals from the environment are integrated with ongoing, patterned neural activity that provides them with a meaningful context. We review recent advances in neurophysiology and neuroimaging that are beginning to reveal the neural mechanisms of integration. In addition, we discuss concepts and measures derived from information theory that lend (...) a theoretical basis to the notion of complexity as integration of information and suggest new experimental tests of these concepts. (shrink)
The world is complex, but acknowledging its complexity requires an appreciation for the many roles context plays in shaping natural phenomena. In _Unsimple Truths, _Sandra Mitchell argues that the long-standing scientific and philosophical deference to reductive explanations founded on simple universal laws, linear causal models, and predict-and-act strategies fails to accommodate the kinds of knowledge that many contemporary sciences are providing about the world. She advocates, instead, for a new understanding that represents the rich, variegated, interdependent fabric of many (...) levels and kinds of explanation that are integrated with one another to ground effective prediction and action. Mitchell draws from diverse fields including psychiatry, social insect biology, and studies of climate change to defend “integrative pluralism”—a theory of scientific practices that makes sense of how many natural and social sciences represent the multi-level, multi-component, dynamic structures they study. She explains how we must, in light of the now-acknowledged complexity and contingency of biological and social systems, revise how we conceptualize the world, how we investigate the world, and how we act in the world. Ultimately _Unsimple Truths _argues that the very idea of what should count as legitimate science itself should change. (shrink)
Computer-simulated scenarios have been part of psychological research on problem solving for more than 40 years. The shift in emphasis from simple toy problems to complex, more real-life oriented problems has been accompanied by discussions about the best ways to assess the process of solving complex problems. Psychometric issues such as reliable assessments and addressing correlations with other instruments have been in the foreground of these discussions and have left the content validity of complex problem solving in the background. In (...) this paper, we return the focus to content issues and address the important features that define complex problems. (shrink)
The complexity of human societies of the past few thousand years rivals that of social insect societies. We hypothesize that two sets of social “instincts” underpin and constrain the evolution of complex societies. One set is ancient and shared with other social primate species, and one is derived and unique to our lineage. The latter evolved by the late Pleistocene, and led to the evolution of institutions of intermediate complexity in acephalous societies. The institutions of complex societies often (...) conflict with our social instincts. The complex societies of the past few thousand years can function only because cultural evolution has created effective “work-arounds” to manage such instincts. We describe a series of work-arounds and use the data on the relative effectiveness of WWII armies to test the work-around hypothesis. (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)
The consensus among evolutionists seems to be that the morphological complexity of organisms increases in evolution, although almost no empirical evidence for such a trend exists. Most studies of complexity have been theoretical, and the few empirical studies have not, with the exception of certain recent ones, been especially rigorous; reviews are presented of both the theoretical and empirical literature. The paucity of evidence raises the question of what sustains the consensus, and a number of suggestions are offered, (...) including the possibility that certain cultural and/or perceptual biases are at work. In addition, a shift in emphasis from theoretical to empirical inquiry is recommended for the study of complexity, and guidelines for future empirical studies are proposed. (shrink)
We investigate the computational complexity of deciding whether a given inference rule is admissible for some modal and superintuitionistic logics. We state a broad condition under which the admissibility problem is coNEXP-hard. We also show that admissibility in several well-known systems (including GL, S4, and IPC) is in coNE, thus obtaining a sharp complexity estimate for admissibility in these systems.
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)
Complex demonstrative phrases, in English, are phrases such as ‘that woman in the department’ and ‘that car on the corner’. They are of particular interest to philosophers for two related reasons. The first involves the problem of intentionality. If there are phrases that are candidates for “latching directly onto the world,” they are such phrases, and their “simple” counterparts, as in the occurrences of ‘that’ in ‘that is nice’. As a result, philosophers interested in intentionality, from the sense-data theorists to (...) contemporary philosophers of mind, have devoted considerable attention to the question of how a demonstrative thought links to its object. The second reason involves issues in semantics and the philosophy of language. In the course of investigations into the model theory for modal logic in the 1950s and 1960s, philosophers recognized that the simplest way to treat terms was as modally rigid, namely as designating their actual designations relative to any possible world in which they existed, and nothing else in other worlds. It was soon recognized that this semantic property could be elegantly explained by the assumption that the semantics of singular terms reflects the role of singular terms in linking representations directly to the world. If the semantic contribution of a singular term to a thought is simply the object it denotes, and the thought is the object of modal evaluation, then the modal rigidity of the class of terms falls out as a consequence. Demonstrative phrases, both simple and complex, have always been taken to be among the paradigms for this picture of reference, which has come to be known as “the direct reference” model. (shrink)
Research on future-oriented mental time travel (FMTT) is highly active yet somewhat unruly. I believe this is due, in large part, to the complexity of both the tasks used to test FMTT and the concepts involved. Extraordinary care is a necessity when grappling with such complex and perplexing metaphysical constructs as self and time and their co-instantiation in memory. In this review, I first discuss the relation between future mental time travel and types of memory (episodic and semantic). I (...) then examine the nature of both the types of self-knowledge assumed to be projected into the future and the types of temporalities that constitute projective temporal experience. Finally, I argue that a person lacking episodic memory should nonetheless be able to imagine a personal future by virtue of (a) the fact that semantic, as well as episodic, memory can be self-referential, (b) autonoetic awareness is not a prerequisite for FMTT, and (c) semantic memory does, in fact, enable certain forms of personally-oriented FMTT. (shrink)
Although much recent social science and humanities work has been a revolt against simplification, this volume explores the contrast between simplicity and complexity to reveal that this dichotomy, itself, is too simplistic. John Law and Annemarie Mol have gathered a distinguished panel of contributors to offer—particularly within the field of science studies—approaches to a theory of complexity, and at the same time a theoretical introduction to the topic. Indeed, they examine not only ways of relating to complexity (...) but complexity _in practice._ Individual essays study complexity from a variety of perspectives, addressing market behavior, medical interventions, aeronautical design, the governing of supranational states, ecology, roadbuilding, meteorology, the science of complexity itself, and the psychology of childhood trauma. Other topics include complex wholes in the sciences, moral complexity in seemingly amoral endeavors, and issues relating to the protection of African elephants. With a focus on such concepts as multiplicity, partial connections, and ebbs and flows, the collection includes narratives from Kenya, Great Britain, Papua New Guinea, the Netherlands, France, and the meetings of the European Commission, written by anthropologists, economists, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, and scholars of science, technology, and society. _Contributors._ Andrew Barry, Steven D. Brown, Michel Callon, Chunglin Kwa, John Law, Nick Lee, Annemarie Mol, Marilyn Strathern, Laurent Thévenot, Charis Thompson. (shrink)
I have two aims for the present paper, one narrow and one broad. The narrow aim is to show that a class of data originally described by Lynsey Wolter empirically undermine the leading treatments of complex demonstratives that have been described in the literature. The broader aim of the paper is to show that Wolter demonstratives, as I will call the constructions I focus on, are a threat not just to existing treatments, but to any possible theory that retains the (...) uncontroversial assumptions that relative clauses always form a constituent with the nouns they modify, and that semantic composition proceeds sequentially and locally, with the inputs to interpretation having the structure syntax tells us they do. (shrink)
Syntactic complexity effects have been investigated extensively with respect to comprehension . According to one prominent class of accounts , certain structures cause comprehension difficulty due to their scarcity in the language. But why are some structures less frequent than others? In two elicited-production experiments we investigated syntactic complexity effects in relative clauses and wh-questions varying in whether or not they contained non-local dependencies. In both experiments, we found reliable durational differences between subject-extracted structures and object-extracted structures : (...) Participants took longer to begin and produce object-extractions. Furthermore, participants were more likely to be disfluent in the object-extracted constructions. These results suggest that there is a cost associated with planning and uttering the more syntactically complex, object-extracted structures, and that this cost manifests in the form of longer durations and disfluencies. Although the precise nature of this cost remains to be determined, these effects provide one plausible explanation for the relative rarity of object-extractions: They are more costly to produce. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to respond to recent discussion of, and objections to, the libertarian view of free will I have developed in many works over the past four decades. The issues discussed all have a bearing on the central question of how one might make sense of a traditional free will requiring indeterminism in the light of modern science. This task involves, among other things, avoiding all traditional libertarian appeals to unusual forms of agency or causation that (...) cannot be accounted for by ordinary modes of explanation familiar to the natural and human sciences. Doing this, I argue, requires piecing together a “complex tapestry” of ideas and arguments that involve rethinking many traditional assumptions about free will. The paper also argues that one cannot get to the heart of historical debates about free will without distinguishing different kinds of freedom, different senses of will, and different notions of control, among other distinctions. I especially focus here on different notions of freedom and control that are necessary to make sense of free will. (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.
What exactly is complexity science? Two's company, three is complexity ; Disorder rules, OK? ; Chaos and all that jazz ; Mob mentality ; Getting connected -- What can complexity science do for me? Forecasting financial markets ; Tackling traffic networks and climbing the corporate ladder ; Looking for Mr./Mrs. Right ; Coping with conflict : next-generation wars and global terrorism -- Catching a cold, avoiding super-flu and curing cancer ; The mother of all complexities : our (...) nanoscale quantum world ; To infinity and beyond. (shrink)
We study the computational complexity of polyadic quantifiers in natural language. This type of quantification is widely used in formal semantics to model the meaning of multi-quantifier sentences. First, we show that the standard constructions that turn simple determiners into complex quantifiers, namely Boolean operations, iteration, cumulation, and resumption, are tractable. Then, we provide an insight into branching operation yielding intractable natural language multi-quantifier expressions. Next, we focus on a linguistic case study. We use computational complexity results to (...) investigate semantic distinctions between quantified reciprocal sentences. We show a computational dichotomy<br>between different readings of reciprocity. Finally, we go more into philosophical speculation on meaning, ambiguity and computational complexity. In particular, we investigate a possibility to<br>revise the Strong Meaning Hypothesis with complexity aspects to better account for meaning shifts in the domain of multi-quantifier sentences. The paper not only contributes to the field of the formal<br>semantics but also illustrates how the tools of computational complexity theory might be successfully used in linguistics and philosophy with an eye towards cognitive science. (shrink)
In this article an epistemological framework is proposed in order to integrate the emergentist thought with systemic studies on biological autonomy, which are focused on the role of organization. Particular attention will be paid to the role of the observer’s activity, especially: (a) the different operations he performs in order to identify the pertinent elements at each descriptive level, and (b) the relationships between the different models he builds from them. According to the approach sustained here, organization will be considered (...) as the result of a specific operation of identification of the relational properties of the functional components of a system, which do not necessarily coincide with the intrinsic properties of its structural constituents. Also, an epistemological notion of emergence—that of “complex emergence”—will be introduced, which can be defined as the insufficiency, even in principle, of a single descriptive modality to provide a complete description of certain classes of systems. This integrative framework will allow us to deal with two issues in biological and emergentist studies: (1) distinguishing the autonomy proper of living systems from some physical processes like those of structural stability and pattern generation, and (2) reconsidering the notion of downward causation not as a direct or indirect influence of the whole on its parts, but instead as an epistemological problem of interaction between descriptive domains in which the concept of organization proposed and the observational operations related to it play a crucial role. (shrink)
The functional complexity, or the number of functions, of organisms hasfigured prominently in certain theoretical and empirical work inevolutionary biology. Large-scale trends in functional complexity andcorrelations between functional complexity and other variables, such assize, have been proposed. However, the notion of number of functions hasalso been operationally intractable, in that no method has been developedfor counting functions in an organism in a systematic and reliable way.Thus, studies have had to rely on the largely unsupported assumption thatnumber of (...) functions can be measured indirectly, by using number ofmorphological, physiological, and behavioral parts as a proxy. Here, amodel is developed that supports this assumption. Specifically, the modelpredicts that few parts will have many functions overlapping in them, andtherefore the variance in number of functions per part will be low. If so,then number of parts is expected to be well correlated with number offunctions, and we can use part counts as proxies for function counts incomparative studies of organisms, even when part counts are low. Alsodiscussed briefly is a strategy for identifying certain kinds of parts inorganisms in a systematic way. (shrink)
The general problem of visual search can be shown to be computationally intractable in a formal, complexity-theoretic sense, yet visual search is extensively involved in everyday perception, and biological systems manage to perform it remarkably well. Complexity level analysis may resolve this contradiction. Visual search can be reshaped into tractability through approximations and by optimizing the resources devoted to visual processing. Architectural constraints can be derived using the minimum cost principle to rule out a large class of potential (...) solutions. The evidence speaks strongly against bottom-up approaches to vision. In particular, the constraints suggest an attentional mechanism that exploits knowledge of the specific problem being solved. This analysis of visual search performance in terms of attentional influences on visual information processing and complexity satisfaction allows a large body of neurophysiological and psychological evidence to be tied together. (shrink)
Weighing complex sets of evidence (i.e., from multiple disciplines and often divergent in implications) is increasingly central to properly informed decision-making. Determining “where the weight of evidence lies” is essential both for making maximal use of available evidence and figuring out what to make of such evidence. Weighing evidence in this sense requires an approach that can handle a wide range of evidential sources (completeness), that can combine the evidence with rigor, and that can do so in a way other (...) experts can assess and critique (transparency). But the democratic context in need of weight-of-evidence analysis also places additional constraints on the process, including communicability of the process to the general public, the need for an approach that can be used across a broad range of contexts (scope), and timeliness of process (practicality). I will compare qualitative and quantitative approaches with respect to both traditional epistemic criteria and criteria that arise from the democratic context, and argue that a qualitative explanatory approach can best meet the criteria and elucidate how to utilize the other approaches. This should not be surprising, as the approach I argue for is the one that most closely tracks general scientific reasoning. (shrink)
Ecologist Richard Levins argues population biologists must trade‐off the generality, realism, and precision of their models since biological systems are complex and our limitations are severe. Steven Orzack and Elliott Sober argue that there are cases where these model properties cannot be varied independently of one another. If this is correct, then Levins's thesis that there is a necessary trade‐off between generality, precision, and realism in mathematical models in biology is false. I argue that Orzack and Sober's arguments fail since (...) Levins's thesis concerns the pragmatic features of model building not just the formal properties of models. (shrink)
We analyse the computational complexity of three problems in judgment aggregation: (1) computing a collective judgment from a profile of individual judgments (the winner determination problem); (2) deciding whether a given agent can influence the outcome of a judgment aggregation procedure in her favour by reporting insincere judgments (the strategic manipulation problem); and (3) deciding whether a given judgment aggregation scenario is guaranteed to result in a logically consistent outcome, independently from what the judgments supplied by the individuals are (...) (the problem of the safety of the agenda). We provide results both for specific aggregation procedures (the quota rules, the premisebased procedure, and a distance-based procedure) and for classes of aggregation procedures characterised in terms of fundamental axioms. (shrink)
The complexity of human societies of the past few thousand years rivals that of social insect societies. We hypothesize that two sets of social “instincts” underpin and constrain the evolution of complex societies. One set is ancient and shared with other social primate species, and one is derived and unique to our lineage. The latter evolved by the late Pleistocene, and led to the evolution of institutions of intermediate complexity in acephalous societies. The institutions of complex societies often (...) conflict with our social instincts. The complex societies of the last few thousand years can function only because cultural evolution has created effective “work-arounds” to manage such instincts. We describe a series of work-arounds and use the data on the relative effectiveness of WWII armies to test the work-around hypothesis. (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)
The complex systems approach (CSA) to characterizing cognitive function is purported to underlie a conceptual and methodological revolution by its proponents. I examine one central claim from each of the contributed papers and argue that the provided examples do not justify calls for radical change in how we do cognitive science. Instead, I note how currently available approaches in ‘‘standard’’ cognitive science are adequate (or even more appropriate) for understanding the CSA provided examples.
Background: how mind functions is subject to continuing scientific discussion. A simplistic approach says that, since no convincing way has been found to model subjective experience, mind cannot exist. A second holds that, since mind cannot be described by classical physics, it must be described by quantum physics. Another perspective concerns mind's hypothesized ability to interact with the world of quanta: it should be responsible for reduction of quantum wave packets; physics producing 'Objective Reduction' is postulated to form the basis (...) for mind-matter interactions. This presentation describes results derived from a new approach to these problems. It is based on well-established biology involving physics not previously applied to the fields of mind, or consciousness studies, that of critical feedback instability. -/- Methods: 'self-organized criticality' in complexity biology places system loci of control at critical instabilities, physical properties of which, including information properties, are presented. Their elucidation shows that they can model hitherto unexplained properties of experience. -/- Results: All results depend on physical properties of critical instabilities. First, at least one feed-back or feed-forward loop must have feedback gain, g = 1: information flows round the loop impress perfect images of system states back on themselves: they represent processes of perfect self-observation. This annihilates system quanta: system excitations are instability fluctuations, which cannot be quantized. Major results follow: -/- 1. Information vectors representing criticality states must include at least one attached information loop denoting self-observation. -/- 2. Such loop structures are attributed a function, 'registering the state's own existence', explaining -/- a. Subjective 'awareness of one's own presence' -/- b. How content-free states of awareness can be remembered (Jon Shear) -/- c. Subjective experience of time duration (Immanuel Kant) -/- d. The 'witness' property of experience – often mentioned by athletes 'in the zone' -/- e. The natural association between consciousness and intelligence -/- This novel, physically and biologically sound approach seems to satisfactorily model subjectivity. -/- Further significant results follow: -/- 1. Registration of external information in excited states of systems at criticality reduces external wave-packets: the new model exhibits 'Objective Reduction' of wave packets. -/- 2. High internal coherence (postulated by Domash & Penrose) leading to a. Non-separable information vector bundles. b. Non-reductive states (Chalmers's criterion for experience). -/- 3. Information that is: a. encoded in coherence negentropy; b. non-digitizable, and therefore c. computationally without digital equivalent (posited by Penrose). -/- Discussion and Conclusions: instability physics implies anharmonic motion, preventing excitation quantization, and totally different from the quantum physics of simple harmonic motion at stability. Instability excitations are different from anything hitherto conceived in information science. They can model aspects of mind never previously treated, including genuine subjectivity, objective reduction of wave-packets, and inter alia all properties given above. (shrink)
This is a review article of Paul Cillier's 1999 book _Complexity and Postmodernism_. The review article is generally encouraging and constructive, although isolates a number of areas in need of clarification or development in Cillier's work. The volume of the _South African Journal of Philosophy_ in which the review article appeared also printed a response by Cilliers.
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 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)
Extended simples are fruitfully discussed in metaphysics. They are entities which are located in a complex region of space but do not themselves have parts. In this paper, I will discuss unextended complexes: entities which are not located at a complex region of space but do themselves have parts. In particular, I focus on one type of unextended complex: pointy complexes. Four areas are indicated where pointy complexes might prove philosophically useful. Unextended complexes are therefore philosophically fruitful, in much the (...) same way as extended simples. (shrink)
In the present paper I develop a model of the evolutionary process associated to the widespread although controversial notion of a prevailing trend of increasing complexity over time. The model builds on a coupling of evolution to individual developmental programs and introduces an integrated view of evolution implying that human culture and science form a continuous extension of organic evolution. It is formed as a mathematical model that has made possible a quantitative estimation in relative terms of the growth (...) of complexity. This estimation is accomplished by means of computer simulations the result of which indicates a strong acceleration of complexity all the way from the appearance of multicellular organisms up to modern man. (shrink)
The arts are one of the most complex of human endeavours, and so it is fitting that a special issue on Complex Systems in Aesthetics and Arts is being published. As the editors of this special issue, we would like to thank the reviewers of the submitted papers for their hard work in making this issue possible, as well as the authors who submitted their work and were very responsive to the comments of the reviewers and editors.