Dialectics and complexity

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Mon Aug 11 21:07:18 MDT 2003


Jurriaan:

> The problem with complexity theory is often, as I suggested in my
> notes to you, that it does not do any real work, it just says
> phenomena are more complex then we think, and tries to transplant
> modelling techniques from one science to another.

i believe this actually is the fault of the popularizations of
complexity theory -- even amongst those scientists who write popular
books.

in fact, much of complexity theory actually does supply some useful
tools for prediction and so forth in the physical sciences and in
social sciences with an easy quantitative model, for example,
connectedness of networks. if the links at the ISS i forwarded earlier
today indicate differently, well then we'll have to correct them.

however, i know very little about how complexity theory is being
"applied" in the social sciences and the picture may be closer to the
one you draw in those fields.


les schaffer





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