chaos and dialectics and complicated reality

lisa rogers lisa.rogers at m.cc.utah.edu
Wed Jun 7 18:32:31 MDT 1995


I've been reading up a bit on "chaos theory" and mathmatical models of
nonlinear and dynamical systems.

I find that some authors are jumping way too far in drawing unjustifiable
implications from the very existence of such models.  (One example conflates
the outcome of evolution on earth with the mechanism of evolution, harks
back to ecological notions of the continuing "progress" toward higher
energy use, and ignores all the critters that didn't evolve, as well as
all of Darwin, neo- or not.)

Models are useful in representing some aspects of reality.  Reality
itself is perhaps impossibily complicated.

I've been thinking about over-dichotomized discussions, and I think many
of our brains tend to work this way, for some good reasons.

Why not use the simplest model possible to represent/understand some
problem at hand?  {Evolutionarily} why waste time / energy on knowing
more than you need to know?  If a simple model works, great!  ANY model
of reality must be more simple than reality itself, or what use is it?

While we may find it useful
to analytically dissect something, it is really all part of one thing.
It is the reunion of the separation back to the complicated,
contradictory whole that I learned as "deconstruction."  This can be
useful too.

Isn't that dialectic?  We separate male/female, intellect/emotion,
competition/cooperation, but they are inseparable and co-existent, or
even required to inform and define each other.  The world is full of
separable / inseparable contradictions.

Lisa Rogers




On Fri, 26 May 1995, Chris Burford wrote:

> I have to agree that loose talk about chaos theory and complexity
> theory can succumb to popular scientific presentation, and be more
> hype than content. (snip)
>
> We need to do more work on why dialectics, despite its surface
> difficulties, may be more than a metaphor, and may be in an
> appropriate sense a scientific approach to this complex
> phenomenological problem. In this sense both dialectics and chaos
> theory have a challenge of sorting out the reality from the hype,
> the truth from the wool.
>
>(snip)
>
 Chris Burford, London.
>


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