Posts Tagged ‘complexity’
¿Cómo son las cosas? ¿Cómo es el mundo? El mundo viene de adentro. Lo construimos todos los días a través de la pegajosidad biológica que nos da forma. Eso que llamamos realidad es lo que sucede cuando conversamos y coordinamos consensualmente nuestras conductas. Realidad, es un enunciado que habla de los mundos que llevamos adentro. Si podemos compartir esta premisa que nos ha enseñado Humberto Maturana, también podemos decir que el mundo será, en gran parte, aquello que podamos imaginar y comunicar tan seductoramente que haga vibrar el sistema social en donde vivimos. El mundo es una posibilidad … del lenguaje. En nuestro rizoma tratamos una posibilidad entre muchas otras. La mutación del amor, en nuestro caso, como emoción fundamentalmente humana, muta y lo hace dentro de una nueva conciencia gestada en sincronía con la simbiosis de las complejidades del enmarañamiento de los sistemas vivos en el neotrópico.
This paper uses complexity theory as a means towards clarifying some of Gilles Deleuze’s conceptualisations in communication and the philosophy of language. His neologisms and post-structuralist tropes are often complicated and appear to be merely metaphorical. However their meanings may be clarified and enriched provided they are grounded in the science of complexity and self-organising dynamics. Reconceptualizing communication in a manner consistent with Deleuze’s philosophy enriches our understanding of the complexity involved in the process of learning and the whole of educational experience. The paper explores education as “becoming,” that is, a process of growth and becoming-other enabled by creative communication. While the mathematics of complexity is beyond the scope of this paper, some of its conjunctions with Deleuze’s philosophy will be examined for the purpose of addressing such problematic areas in education as, for example, specialisation and the breadth of curriculum. Finally, the paper moves to a practical level so as to construct an image of a self-organised classroom. Self-organising dynamics are posited as consistent with what Noddings called an excellent system of education. Education proceeds without any reference to an external aim. Rather, the “aim” is implicit in the experiential process of self-organisation and, as such, is conducive to students’ learning, creation of meanings, and eliciting broad curricula.
This paper introduces Deleuze’s philosophy of becoming in system theoretic terms and proposes an alternative ontological foundation to the study of systems and complex systems in particular. A brief critique of system theory and difficulties apparent in it is proposed as an initial motivation to the discussion. Following is an overview aiming to provide an access to the ‘big picture’ of Deleuze’s revolutionary philosophical system with emphasize on a system theoretic approach and terminology. The major concepts of Deleuze’s ontology – difference, virtuality, multiplicity, assemblages, quasi-causation, becoming (individuation), intensity and progressive determination are introduced and discussed in some length. Deleuze’s work is a radical departure from the dogma of western philosophy that also guides the foundations of science and system theory. It replaces identity with difference and being with becoming, in other words, it provides system theory with an ontological ground based on change, heterogeneity and inexhaustible novelty-producing process that underlies all phenomena. The conceptual tools made available by this philosophy seem to capture the fundamental aspects of complexity and complex systems much better than the current conceptual system that is based on static transcendental ontological entities.
Over the past half century complexity theory has a seminal influence on the entire framework of modern science, affecting all its domains from physics and biology to cognitive science and the human and social sciences. This radical reframing is powered by a new vision of causality: a consequence arises from networks of multiple causes rather than from a single, direct cause.
From Autopoiesis to Neurophenomenology : a Tribute to Francisco Varela bring together scientists and thinkers from the fields of mathematics, neuroscience, immunology, theoretical biology, cognitive science, philosophy and the social sciences who participate in what can be loosely termed a complex-systems approach to fundamental processes of life, mind and human relations. These researchers share a constellation of concepts: self-organization, autopoiesis, autonomy, enaction, radical embodiment. The goal of these notions is the acquisition of a deeper understanding of non-living and living systems through the ongoing study of emergent properties.
Francisco Varela‘s contribution to the understanding of these ideas was devoted to conjugating non-linear dynamics with first person accounts, constituting the neurophenomenology program which is a component of the general program of naturalizing phenomenology. Francisco Varela’s oeuvre ramifies into an unusually large number of domains essential to contemporary science. This tribute uses it as a basis for presenting new and original work by thinkers of all origins.
When we look to the future we confront many uncertainties about the world our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will live in. But we can be certain of at least one thing: if we want this earth to provide for the needs of its inhabitants, human society must undergo a transformation. The world of tomorrow must be fundamentally different from the world we know as we step into the 2lst century and the new millennium. We must strive to build a “sustainable future.” Democracy, equity, social justice, peace and harmony with our natural environment should be the watchwords of this world to come. We must make sure to place the notion of “durability” at the base of our way of living, of governing our nations and communities, of interacting on a global scale.
Education, in the broadest sense of the term, plays a preponderant role In this development aimed at fundamental changes in our ways of living and behaving. Education is the “force for the future” because it is one of the most powerful instruments of change. One of the greatest problems we face is how to adjust our way of thinking to meet the challenge of an increasingly complex, rapidly changing, unpredictable world. We must rethink our way of organizing knowledge. This means breaking down the traditional barriers between disciplines and conceiving new ways to reconnect that which has been torn apart. We have to redesign our educational policies and programs. And as we put these reforms into effect we have to keep our sights on the long term and honor our tremendous responsibility for future generations.
This article explores the afﬁnities and parallels between Foucault’s Nietzschean view of history and models of complexity developed in the physical sciences in the twentieth century. It claims that Foucault’s rejection of structuralism and Marxism can be explained as a consequence of his own approach which posits a radical ontology whereby the conception of the totality or whole is reconﬁgured as an always open, relatively borderless system of inﬁnite interconnections, possibilities and developments. His rejection of Hegelianism, as well as of other enlightenment philosophies, can be understood at one level as a direct response to his rejection of the mechanical atomist, and organicist epistemological world views, based upon a Newtonian conception of a closed universe operating upon the basis of a small number of invariable and universal laws, by which all could be predicted and explained. The idea of a fully determined, closed universe is replaced; and in a way parallel to complexity theories, Foucault’s own approach emphasises notions such as self-organisation and dissipative structures; time as an irreversible, existential dimension; a world of ﬁnite resources but with inﬁnite possibilities for articulation, or re-investment; and characterised by the principles of openness, indeterminism, unpredictability, and uncertainty. The implications of Foucault’s type of approach are then explored in relation to identity, creativity, and the uniqueness of the person. The article suggests that within a complexity theory approach many of the old conundrums concerning determinism and creativity, social constructionism and uniqueness, can be overcome.
In the late 60s, Gilles Deleuze began to formulate some of the philosophical significances of what is now sometimes referred to as “chaos/complexity theory,” the study of “open” matter/energy systems which move from simple to complex patterning and from complex to simple patterning. Though not a term used by contemporary scientists in everyday work, it can be a useful term for a collection of studies of phenomena whose complexity is such that Laplacean determinism no longer holds beyond a limited time and space scale. Thus the formula of chaos/complexity might be “short-term predictability, long-term unpredicability.” (I leave it at “predictable,” an epistemological term, because people get nervous with “indeterminate,” an ontological term. Thus we’re only talking epistemology, or at best heuristic ontology.)
The groundbreaking works in identifying Deleuze’s (and Deleuze & Guattari’s) interest in this field are Brian Massumi’s A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia and Manuel De Landa’s “Non-organic Life” in Incorporations: Zone 6. Although post-modern appropriations of science–to say nothing of critiques–have been the focus of much negative attention lately, due to the notorious Sokal hoax, there does seem to be good cause to take seriously the work of Deleuze and Deleuze & Guattari.
The key point of this paper is that there is a general intersection between the study of complex adaptive systems and the study of capitalism, and that the application of the former to the latter reveals certain inherent limits to our current global economic system.
James Crutchfield, working out of the Complexity Sciences Center at the University of California, has written an article entitled The Hidden Fragility of Complex Systems, which is a very good primer on the dynamics of complex adaptive systems and how they breed instability. He states the following about the most recent financial crisis in our complex global economy (what he terms a “truly complex system”):
“The Fall 2008 near collapse of the global financial system and its heart-wrenching impacts are empirical evidence that pure-market ideology does not work as a design principle for the world’s economies. Historically, this design principle was justified in terms of the Efficient Market Hypothesis – markets in their collective behavior will find the unique, optimal equilibrium condition that homogeneously maximizes human welfare. Sadly, this view is a theoretical artifact of experimentally ungrounded models. The mismatch between ideology and reality is desperately large.“
Because it grounds most of my academic work, the reflection developed in this paper follows the epistemological and anthropological critique characterizing the ʺparadigm of complexityʺ proposed by Edgar Morin. It invites us to question the way one conceives changes and transformations broughtby the use of the notion of complexity itself. In this perspective, instead of discussing Jörgʹs paper focusing on the content of his theoretical propositions, my intent is to question and comment on what I interpreted as being some of the implicit assumptions which frame his reflection. The aim of this paper is therefore to question the way one conceives the use of a specific theoretical approach (i.e., theories associated with the concept of complexity) in order to promote changes in educational practices and theories. The position I am adopting here translates indeed the conviction that any reform of thought has to be conceived in conjunction with a reflection about the idea of reform itself. It is therefore assumed that the use of the notion of complexity, to be critical and to bring significant changes, supposes not only to use a specific theoretical vocabulary, but also and above all to change the way scientific activity itself is conceived in order to bring about such a transformation.