This book presents a clear and critical view of the orthodox logical empiricist tradition, pointing the way to significant developments for the understanding of science both as research and as culture.
Complexity arises from interaction dynamics, but its forms are co-determined by the operative constraints within which the dynamics are expressed. The basic interaction dynamics underlying complex systems is mostly well understood. The formation and operation of constraints is often not, and oftener under appreciated. The attempt to reduce constraints to basic interaction fails in key cases. The overall aim of this paper is to highlight the key role played by constraints in shaping the field of complex systems. Following an introduction (...) to constraints, the paper develops the roles of constraints in specifying forms of complexity and illustrates the roles of constraints in formulating the fundamental challenges to understanding posed by complex systems. (shrink)
Papers presented cover: new approaches to evolutionary epistemology, new applications, critical evaluations, and the nature of the mind. Paper edition (unseen), $25.50. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
This paper outlines an original interactivist-constructivist approach to modelling intelligence and learning as a dynamical embodied form of adaptiveness and explores some applications of I-C to understanding the way cognitive learning is realized in the brain. Two key ideas for conceptualizing intelligence within this framework are developed. These are: intelligence is centrally concerned with the capacity for coherent, context-sensitive, self-directed management of interaction; and the primary model for cognitive learning is anticipative skill construction. Self-directedness is a capacity for integrative process (...) modulation which allows a system to "steer" itself through its world by anticipatively matching its own viability requirements to interaction with its environment. Because the adaptive interaction processes required of intelligent systems are too complex for effective action to be prespecified learning is an important component of intelligence. A model of self-directed anticipative learning is formulated based on interactive skill construction, and argued to constitute a central constructivist process involved in cognitive development. SDAL illuminates the capacity of intelligent learners to start with the vague, poorly defined problems typically posed in realistic learning situations and progressively refine them, transforming them into problems with sufficient structure to guide the construction of a solution. Finally, some of the implications of I-C for modelling of the neuronal basis of intelligence and learning are explored; in particular, Quartz and Sejnowski's recent neural constructivism paradigm, enriched by Montague and Sejnowski's dopaminergic model of anticipative-predictive neural learning, is assessed as a promising, but incomplete, contribution to this approach. The paper concludes with a fourfold reflection on the divergence in cognitive modelling philosophy between the I-C and the traditional computational information processing approaches. (shrink)
Both natural and engineered systems are fundamentally dynamical in nature: their defining properties are causal, and their functional capacities are causally grounded. Among dynamical systems, an interesting and important sub-class are those that are autonomous, anticipative and adaptive (AAA). Living systems, intelligent systems, sophisticated robots and social systems belong to this class, and the use of these terms has recently spread rapidly through the scientific literature. Central to understanding these dynamical systems is their complicated organisation and their consequent capacities for (...) re- and self- organisation. But there is at present no general analysis of these capacities or of the requisite organisation involved. We define what distinguishes AAA systems from other kinds of systems by characterising their central properties in a dynamically interpreted information theory. (shrink)
Analytic moral philosophy's strong divide between empirical and normative restricts facts to providing information for the application of norms and does not allow them to confront or challenge norms. So any genuine attempt to incorporate experience and empirical research into bioethics – to give the empirical more than the status of mere 'descriptive ethics'– must make a sharp break with the kind of analytic moral philosophy that has dominated contemporary bioethics. Examples from bioethics and science are used to illustrate the (...) problems with the method of application that philosophically prevails in both domains and with the conception of rationality that underlies this method. Cues from how these problems can be handled in science then introduce summaries of richer, more productive naturalist and constructivist accounts of reason and normative knowledge. Liberated by a naturalist approach to ethics and an enlarged conception of rationality, empirical work can be recognized not just as essential to bioethics but also as contributing to normative knowledge. (shrink)
Every essay in this book is original, often highly original, and they will be of interest to practising scientists as much as they will be to philosophers of science — not least because many of the essays are by leading scientists who are currently creating the emerging new complex systems paradigm. This is no accident. The impact of complex systems on science is a recent, ongoing and profound revolution. But with a few honourable exceptions, it has largely been ignored by (...) scientists and philosophers alike as an object of reflective study. (shrink)
The point of this paper is to provide a principled framework for a naturalistic, interactivist-constructivist model of rational capacity and a sketch of the model itself, indicating its merits. Being naturalistic, it takes its orientation from scientific understanding. In particular, it adopts the developing interactivist-constructivist understanding of the functional capacities of biological organisms as a useful naturalistic platform for constructing such higher order capacities as reason and cognition. Further, both the framework and model are marked by the finitude and fallibility (...) that science attributes to organisms, with their radical consequences, and also by the individual and collective capacities to improve their performances that learning organisms display. Part A prepares the ground for the exposition through a critique of the dominant Western analytic tradition in rationalising science, followed by a brief exposition of the naturalist framework that will be employed to frame the construction. This results in two sets of guidelines for constructing an alternative. Part B provides the new conception of reason as a rich complex of processes of improvement against epistemic values, and argues its merits. It closes with an account of normativity and our similarly developing rational knowledge of it, including (reflexively) of reason itself. (shrink)
Compromise is a pervasive fact of life. It occurs when obligations conflict and repudiating one obligation entirely to satisfy another entirely is unacceptable—for example, when a single parent cannot both raise a child satisfactorily and earn the income that living together demands. Compromise is unsettling, but properly negotiating difficult circumstances develops moral and emotional maturity. Yet compromise has no place in moral philosophy, where it is logically anathematized and deemed to violate integrity. This paper defends compromise with more expansive accounts (...) of reason and integrity that comport with our finite moral agency and infuse our moral lives. (shrink)
To mathematicians, mathematics is a happy game, to scientists a mere tool and to philosophers a Platonic mystery - or so the caricature runs. The caricature reflects the alleged 'cultural gap' between the disciplines a gap for which there too often has been, sadly, sound historical evidence. In many minds the lack of communication between philosophy and the exact disciplines is especially prominent. Yet in the past there was no separation - exact knowledge, covering both scientists and mathemati cians, was (...) known as natural philosophy and the business of providing a critical view of the nature of reality and an accurate mathematical de scription of it constituted a single task from the glorious tradition begun by the early Greek philosophers even up until Newton's day (but I am thinking of Descartes and Leibniz I). The lack of communication between these professional groups has been particularly unfortunate, for the past half century has seen the most ex citing developments in mathematical physics since Newton. These devel opments hinged on the introduction of vast new reaches of mathematics into physics (non-Euclidean geometries, covariant formulations, non commutative algebras, functional analysis and so on) and conversely have challenged mathematicians to develop the appropriate mathematical fields. Equally, these developments have posed profound philosophical problems to do with the rejection of traditional conceptions concerning the nature of physical reality and physical theorising. (shrink)
The domain of nonlinear dynamical systems and its mathematical underpinnings has been developing exponentially for a century, the last 35 years seeing an outpouring of new ideas and applications and a concomitant confluence with ideas of complex systems and their applications from irreversible thermodynamics. A few examples are in meteorology, ecological dynamics, and social and economic dynamics. These new ideas have profound implications for our understanding and practice in domains involving complexity, predictability and determinism, equilibrium, control, planning, individuality, responsibility and (...) so on. Our intention is to draw together in this volume, we believe for the first time, a comprehensive picture of the manifold philosophically interesting impacts of recent developments in understanding nonlinear systems and the unique aspects of their complexity. The book will focus specifically on the philosophical concepts, principles, judgments and problems distinctly raised by work in the domain of complex nonlinear dynamical systems, especially in recent years. -Comprehensive coverage of all main theories in the philosophy of Complex Systems -Clearly written expositions of fundamental ideas and concepts -Definitive discussions by leading researchers in the field -Summaries of leading-edge research in related fields are also included. (shrink)
There is a long tradition of arguing that design and science are importantly different. One such argument is that the separation of science and design is an implication that can be drawn from the Simon–Kroes model of the nature of technical artifacts. This paper argues that the Simon–Kroes model does not imply a radical separation between science and design: if we accept the Simon–Kroes model of the nature of technical artifacts and their production, then we must also accept that all (...) the sciences also produce technical artifacts, and in importantly similar ways. Moreover, the placing of both science and design in a naturalist framework reinforces this conclusion and opens up new vistas for synergetic cross-disciplinary discussion of design and methodology. (shrink)
Complex systems are used, studied and instantiated in science, with what con-sequences? To be clear and systematic in response it is necessary to distin-guish the consequences, for science, of science using and studying complex systems, for philosophy of science, of science using and studying complex systems, for philosophy of science, of philosophy of science modelling sci-ence as a complex system. Each of these is explored in turn, especially. While has been least studied, it will be shown how modelling science as (...) a complex process may change our conception of science and thereby query what a philosophy of science adequate to this complexity might look like. (shrink)
We examine the claim that design is demarcated from science by having wicked problems while science does not and argue that it is wrong. We examine each of the ten features Rittel and Weber hold to be characteristic of wicked problems and show that they derive from three general sources common to science and design: agent finitude, system complexity and problem normativity, and play analogous roles in each. This provides the basis for a common core cognitive process to design and (...) science. Underlying our arguments is a shift to a strategic problem-solving conception of method in both disciplines that opens up new opportunities for synergetic cross-disciplinary research and practice. (shrink)
This chapter describes the application of reduction concepts in emergence and self organization of complex dynamical system. Condition-dependent laws compress and dynamical equation sets provide implicit compressed representations even when most of that information is not explicitly available without decompression. And, paradoxically, there is still the determined march of fundamental analytical dynamics expanding its compression reach toward a Theory of Everything—even while the more rapidly expanding domain of complex systems dynamics confronts its assumptions and its monolithicity. Nor does science fall (...) apart into a disunified aggregate of particular cases since, with fundamental dynamics as a backbone, complex matching up of models across theoretical and empirical domains then articulates its model-structured skeleton. Discussion provides the delicately entwined dance of emergence and reduction providing constraints on compression that also permit its expansion. However, while the vision is not dead, it is currently substantially more complexly structured through model similarities and differences than that initially envisaged and individuals are left with deep questions about compression unresolved. (shrink)
Donald Campbell has long advocated a naturalist epistemology based on a general selection theory, with the scope of knowledge restricted to vicarious adaptive processes. But being a vicariant is problematic because it involves an unexplained epistemic relation. We argue that this relation is to be explicated organizationally in terms of the regulation of behavior and internal state by the vicariant, but that Campbell's selectionist approach can give no satisfactory account of it because it is opaque to organization. We show how (...) organizational constraints and capacities are crucial to understanding both evolution and cognition and conclude with a proposal for an enriched, generalized model of evolutionary epistemology that places high-order regulatory organization at the center. (shrink)
In recent times it has become fashionable to emphasize the role of conceptual change in the history of science. To judge from recent writers, every significant theoretical change in science is first and foremost a revolution in scientific concepts—a conceptual revolution. According to this view, every level of experience is affected by each fundamental theoretical change: physical theory, experimental practice and even perceptual experience. The Aristotelian patrician who watched the sun sink beneath the horizon not only had different beliefs about (...) the phenomenon but actually saw something different from the Newtonian gentleman who saw the horizon rise above his eye-sun line, and the Einsteinian professional who saw the sun's varying geometrical relations to the world light-geodesics on which successive temporal stages of his eye world-line lay. Moreover, such is the completeness of the conceptual-experiential shifts undergone in a fundamental scientific change that it is impossible to meaningfully discuss the one theory within the confines of the other or, indeed, to provide any systematic, cumulative comparison of successive theories. (shrink)
A decade ago in this journal Farrell and Hooker published a study of an important episode in the history of Psychology, the empirical investigation of ape linguistic capacity. What was different about this study was that it was undertaken from within the framework of a bio-cognitively motivated process for strategic problem solving, supported by an enriched conception of rationality. Upon examination, the process proved to stretch across roughly three decades of research and many participants, revealing a much richer conception of (...) scientific process than a collection of narrow self-contained and inevitably superficial "problems." Since that time, understanding of... (shrink)
This essay provides a framework of concepts and principles suitable for systematic discussion of issues surrounding expertise. Expertise creates inequality. Its multiple benefits and the creativity of technology lead to a society replete with expertises. The basic binds of expertise derive from the desire of non-experts to be able to both enjoy what expertise offers and insure that it is exercised in the social interest. This involves trusting the exercise of expertise, involuntarily or voluntarily. A healthy society provides various means (...) to move trust from involuntary to voluntary. The social means for achieving this are laid out. The purpose of this short essay is to briefly lay out a conceptual framework within which to construct, clarify, evaluate and apply expertises. It is not to promote some particular notion of expertise over others, or to review the vast literatures, such as that on trust in science, that make up the domain. A few notes on one work towards this essay’s close may indicate what a major, and expert, process this would be. (shrink)
Pursuit of every scientific framework — that is, of a paradigm and philosophy for science — is underwritten by a practical act of faith that its cognitive apparatus — including concepts, classes of models and underlying mathematics, and experimental instruments, techniques and interpretations — is adequate to understand the domain concerned. The focus of this essay is the consequences of the cognitive apparatus of complex systems for methodology, epistemology and metaphysics.
In 1895 sociologist and philosopher Georg Simmel published a paper: ‘On a connection of selection theory to epistemology’. It was focussed on the question of how behavioural success and the evolution of the cognitive capacities that underlie it are to be related to knowing and truth. Subsequently, Simmel’s ideas were largely lost, but recently an English translation was published by Coleman in this journal. While Coleman’s contextual remarks are solely concerned with a preceding evolutionary epistemology, it will be argued here (...) that Simmel pursues a more unorthodox, more radically biologically based and pragmatist, approach to epistemology in which the presumption of a wholly interests-independent truth is abandoned, concepts are accepted as species-specific and truth tied intimately to practical success. Moreover, Simmel’s position, shorn of one too-radical commitment, shares its key commitments with the recently developed interactivist–constructivist framework for understanding biological cognition and naturalistic epistemology. There Simmel’s position can be given a natural, integrated, three-fold elaboration in interactivist re-analysis, unified evolutionary epistemology and learnable normativity. (shrink)
Systems and synthetic biology promise to revolutionize our understanding of biology, blur the boundaries between the living and the engineered in a vital new bioengineering, and transform our daily relationship to the living world. Their emergence thus deserves to be understood in a wider intellectual perspective. Close attention to their relationship to the larger scientific intellectual frameworks within which they function reveals that systems and synthetic biology raise fundamental challenges to scientific orthodoxy, but stand in the vanguard of an emerging (...) new complex dynamical systems paradigm now sweeping across science. (shrink)
This book focuses on showing how the ideas central to the new wave oj dynamic systems studies may also form the basis for a new and distinctive theory of human development where both global order and local variability in behaviour emerge together from the same organising dynamical interactions. This also sharpens our understanding of the weaknesses of the traditional formal, structuralist theories. Conversely, dynamical models have their own matching set of problems, many of which are consiously explored here. Less readily (...) acknowledged, the youthfulness of this field means that many of the studies presented here struggle to pass beyond speculative metaphor. Nonetheless, the field is shown to be one of vigour, intelligence and great promise. (shrink)
In an Isis 2008 review of research in History and Philosophy of Science, Galison opened discussion on ten on-going HPS problems. It is however unclear to what extent these problems, and constraints on their solutions, are of HPS’s own making. Recent research provides a basic resolution of these issues. In a recent paper Hooker : 266–291, 2018b) proposed that the discipline of HPS should themselves also be understood to employ paradigms in HPS to understand science, analogously to those employed in (...) science to understand scientific domains. The paper argued for recognising at least two paradigms, one based on logic, and analytic forms more generally, the other based on deliberative judgement making. The present paper aims to use paradigmatic responses to Galison’s problems to explore the differing natures, merits and limitations of these two paradigms. This exploration also reveals the basic inadequacy of the analytic paradigm to illuminate the conduct of science, thereby permitting many of his problems to be dissolved rather than solved. (shrink)