Complexity is the unifying theory of biological and physical phenomena. It holds that at the root of all complex systems lie a few simple rules, taking the notion of chaos (which states that within seemingly chaotic systems are elements of order) a step further by actually identifying these rules. The author sees it as the dominant scientific trend of the 1990s, as scientists from many disciplines come together and begin to discover the underlying similarities in their fields.
Examines the field of complexity science, with sections focusing on how the discipline works within computer simulations, natural ecosystems, and various social systems.
Examines the field of complexity science, with sections focusing on how the discipline works within computer simulations, natural ecosystems, and various social systems.
A look at the rebellious thinkers who are challenging old ideas with their insights into the ways countless elements of complex systems interact to produce spontaneous order out of confusion
This book argues that psychoanalysis has a unique role to play in the climate change debate through its placing emphasis on the unconscious dimensions of our mental and social lives. Exploring contributions from Freudian, Kleinian, Object Relations, Self Psychology, Jungian, and Lacanian traditions, the book discusses how psychoanalysis can help to unmask the anxieties, deficits, conflicts, phantasies and defences crucial in understanding the human dimension of the ecological crisis. Yet despite being essential to studying environmentalism and its discontents, psychoanalysis still remains largely a 'psychology without ecology.' The philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, combined with new developments in the sciences of complexity, help us to build upon the best of these perspectives, providing a framework able to integrate Guattari's 'three ecologies' of mind, nature and society. This book thus constitutes a timely attempt to contribute towards a critical dialogue between psychoanalysis and ecology. Further topics of discussion include: ecopsychology and the greening of psychotherapy our ambivalent relationship to nature and the non-human complexity theory in psychoanalysis and ecology defence mechanisms against eco-anxiety and eco-grief Deleuze|Guattari and the three ecologies becoming-animal in horror and eco-apocalypse in science fiction films nonlinear ecopsychoanalysis. In our era of anxiety, denial, paranoia, apathy, guilt, hope, and despair in the face of climate change, this book offers a fresh and insightful psychoanalytic perspective on the ecological crisis. As such this book will be of great interest to all those in the fields of psychoanalysis, psychology, philosophy, and ecology, as well as all who are concerned with the global environmental challenges affecting our planet's future.
A major scientific revolution has begun, a new paradigm that rivals Darwin's theory in importance. At its heart is the discovery of the order that lies deep within the most complex of systems, from the origin of life, to the workings of giant corporations, to the rise and fall of great civilizations. And more than anyone else, this revolution is the work of one man, Stuart Kauffman, a MacArthur Fellow and visionary pioneer of the new science of complexity. Now, in At Home in the Universe, Kauffman brilliantly weaves together the excitement of intellectual discovery and a fertile mix of insights to give the general reader a fascinating look at this new science--and at the forces for order that lie at the edge of chaos. We all know of instances of spontaneous order in nature--an oil droplet in water forms a sphere, snowflakes have a six-fold symmetry. What we are only now discovering, Kauffman says, is that the range of spontaneous order is enormously greater than we had supposed. Indeed, self-organization is a great undiscovered principle of nature. But how does this spontaneous order arise? Kauffman contends that complexity itself triggers self-organization, or what he calls "order for free," that if enough different molecules pass a certain threshold of complexity, they begin to self-organize into a new entity--a living cell. Kauffman uses the analogy of a thousand buttons on a rug--join two buttons randomly with thread, then another two, and so on. At first, you have isolated pairs; later, small clusters; but suddenly at around the 500th repetition, a remarkable transformation occurs--much like the phase transition when water abruptly turns to ice--and the buttons link up in one giant network. Likewise, life may have originated when the mix of different molecules in the primordial soup passed a certain level of complexity and self-organized into living entities (if so, then life is not a highly improbable chance event, but almost inevitable). Kauffman uses the basic insight of "order for free" to illuminate a staggering range of phenomena. We see how a single-celled embryo can grow to a highly complex organism with over two hundred different cell types. We learn how the science of complexity extends Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection: that self-organization, selection, and chance are the engines of the biosphere. And we gain insights into biotechnology, the stunning magic of the new frontier of genetic engineering--generating trillions of novel molecules to find new drugs, vaccines, enzymes, biosensors, and more. Indeed, Kauffman shows that ecosystems, economic systems, and even cultural systems may all evolve according to similar general laws, that tissues and terra cotta evolve in similar ways. And finally, there is a profoundly spiritual element to Kauffman's thought. If, as he argues, life were bound to arise, not as an incalculably improbable accident, but as an expected fulfillment of the natural order, then we truly are at home in the universe. Kauffman's earlier volume, The Origins of Order, written for specialists, received lavish praise. Stephen Jay Gould called it "a landmark and a classic." And Nobel Laureate Philip Anderson wrote that "there are few people in this world who ever ask the right questions of science, and they are the ones who affect its future most profoundly. Stuart Kauffman is one of these." In At Home in the Universe, this visionary thinker takes you along as he explores new insights into the nature of life.
John Gribbin is currently a Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex.
Comprehensive overview of the inroads made by Complexity Thinking approaches and ideas in the study and practice of world politics. Why are policymakers, scholars, and the general public so surprised when the world turns out to be unpredictable? World Politics at the Edge of Chaos suggests that the study of international politics needs new forms of knowledge to respond to emerging challenges such as the interconnectedness between local and transnational realities; between markets, migration, and social movements; and between pandemics, a looming energy crisis, and climate change. Asserting that Complexity Thinking (CT) provides a much-needed lens for interpreting these challenges, the contributors offer a parallel assessment of the impact of CT to anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric (post-human) International Relations. Using this perspective, the result should be less surprise when confronting the dynamism of a fragile and unpredictable global life.
From the early 1960s until his death, French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) wrote many influential works on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. One of Deleuze's main philosophical projects was a systematic inversion of the traditional relationship between identity and difference. This Deleuzian philosophy of difference is the subject of Jeffrey A. Bell's Philosophy at the Edge of Chaos. Bell argues that Deleuze's efforts to develop a philosophy of difference are best understood by exploring both Deleuze's claim to be a Spinozist, and Nietzsche's claim to have found in Spinoza an important precursor. Beginning with an analysis of these claims, Bell shows how Deleuze extends and transforms concepts at work in Spinoza and Nietzsche to produce a philosophy of difference that promotes and, in fact, exemplifies the notions of dynamic systems and complexity theory. With these concepts at work, Deleuze constructs a philosophical approach that avoids many of the difficulties that linger in other attempts to think about difference. Bell uses close readings of Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, and Whitehead to illustrate how Deleuze's philosophy is successful in this regard and to demonstrate the importance of the historical tradition for Deleuze. Far from being a philosopher who turns his back on what is taken to be a mistaken metaphysical tradition, Bell argues that Deleuze is best understood as a thinker who endeavoured to continue the work of traditional metaphysics and philosophy.
Russ Marion describes formal and social organizations from the perspective of chaos and complexity theories. The book is generously illustrated and includes references plus an annotated bibliography.
Why, in a scientific age, do people routinely turn to astrologers, mediums, cultists, and every kind of irrational practitioner rather than to science to meet their spiritual needs? The answer, according to Richard J. Bird, is that science, especially biology, has embraced a view of life that renders meaningless the coincidences, serendipities, and other seemingly significant occurrences that fill people's everyday existence. Evolutionary biology rests on the assumption that although events are fundamentally random, some are selected because they are better adapted than others to the surrounding world. This book proposes an alternative view of evolving complexity. Bird argues that randomness means not disorder but infinite order. Complexity arises not from many random events of natural selection (although these are not unimportant) but from the "playing out" of chaotic systems—which are best described mathematically. When we properly understand the complex interplay of chaos and life, Bird contends, we will see that many events that appear random are actually the outcome of order.
Every few years a book changes the way people think about a field. In psychology there is Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence. In science, James Gleick's Chaos. In economics and finance, Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street. And in business there is now Surfing the Edge of Chaos by Richard T. Pascale, Mark Millemann, and Linda Gioja. Surfing the Edge of Chaos is a brilliant, powerful, and practical book about the parallels between business and nature -- two fields that feature nonstop battles between the forces of tradition and the forces of transformation. It offers a bold new way of thinking about and responding to the personal and strategic challenges everyone in business faces these days. Pascale, Millemann, and Gioja argue that because every business is a living system (not just as metaphor but in reality), the four cornerstone principles of the life sciences are just as true for organizations as they are for species. These principles are: Equilibrium is death. Innovation usually takes place on the edge of chaos. Self-organization and emergence occur naturally. Organizations can only be disturbed, not directed. Using intriguing, in-depth case studies (Sears Roebuck, Monsanto, Royal Dutch Shell, the U.S. Army, British Petroleum, Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems), Surfing the Edge of Chaos shows that in business, as in nature, there are no permanent winners. There are just companies and species that either react to change and evolve, or get left behind and become extinct. Some examples: Parallels between Yellowstone National Park and Sears show why equilibrium is a dangerous place in both nature and business. How Monsanto used a "strange attractor" to move to the edge of chaos to alter its identity and transform its culture. The unlikely story of how the U.S. Army embraced the ideas of self-organization and emergence. Why the misapplication of linear logic (reengineering a business or attempting to eradicate predators in nature) will inevitably fail. The stories in Surfing the Edge of Chaos are of pioneering efforts that show how the principles of living systems produce bottom-line impact and profound transformational change. What's really striking about them, though, is their reality. They are about success and failure, breakthroughs and dead-ends. In short, they are like the business you are in and the challenges you face. From the Hardcover edition.
Shows how to use complexity science to make businesses more flexible and spur employees to become more involved with their work
A groundbreaking book explores the dynamic, emerging concept of complexity and its relationship to mathematics, physics, biology, and chemistry, and provides an arresting account of how far science has come and what to expect in the rapidly approaching future. Reprint.
A powerful guide to thinking and managing your way into the new economy. A how to think book for practicing managers.
The nature of this book is to emphasize the inherent complexity and richness of the human experience of change. Now, the author believes there to be an acceptable "scientific" explanation for this phenomona. Explored here are 30 years of studies to describe nonlinear dynamics, today termed either chaos theory or complexity theory. The connotations of both theories are discussed at length. Offering social scientists validation in their attempts to describe and define phenomona of a previously ineffable nature, this book explores chaos' implications for psychology and the social sciences. It describes the benefits psychology can glean from using ideas in chaos theory and applying them to psychology in general, individual psycho-therapy, couples therapy, and community psychology, and also considers possible directions for research and application.
Helen Shulman integrates experiences of synchronicity, altered states of consciousness, trance, ritual, Buddhist meditation practice and creativity into a broad perspective on cross-cultural psychology. What emerges is a comprehensive way to understand pyschological illness and healing as a perpetual work-in-progress near "the edge of chaos," where the seeds for new models of reality lie. With mental illness as the focus, she leads us on a fascinating interdisciplinary exploration, linking such areas as cultural studies, anthropology, evolutionary science and new work in mathematics and computer science - known as complexity theory - to Jungian psychology. A new paradigm for postmodern psychology emerges as the author presents a dynamic theoretical model containing rational and irrational aspects of individual and collective life.
Do we live in a simple or a complex universe? Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart explore the ability of complicated rules to generate simple behaviour in nature through 'the collapse of chaos'. 'The most startling, thought-provoking book I've read all year. I was pleased to learn that most of the things I thought I knew were wrong' -- Terry Pratchett
Artificial Life is the study of man-made systems that exhibit behaviors characteristic of natural living systems, such as self-organization, reproduction, development, and even evolution. It complements the traditional biological sciences concerned with the analysis of living organisms by attempting to synthesize and study life-like behaviors within computers or other ”alternative” media. By extending the empirical foundation upon which biology rests beyond the carbon-chain based life that has evolved on Earth, Artificial Life can contribute to the theoretical biology by locating ”life-as-we-know-it” within the larger context of ”life-as-it-could-be,” in any of its possible physical incarnations.

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