Saturday, August 24, 2013

Metaphysical and postmetaphysical complexity

Continuing from this post, see this post on Commons' own description of the metaphysical basis (both Platonic and Aristotelian) of the MHC. Furthermore, see this from the article cited:

"In the early 1960s, many others’ work introduced the representational theory of measurement. It is the basis for the Model of Hierarchical Complexity" (315).

And of course the latter is also a fine example of a metaphysical system. Compare with Cilliars in Complexity and Postmodernism:

"Models of complex systems will have to be as complex as the systems themselves. They will also have to emulate these systems’ capacity to encode and remember information pertaining to their environment and how to cope with that environment. We have suggested that classical theories of representation do not provide an adequate description of this process. [...] The symbols of mathematics have no meaning by themselves. They are provided meaning by means of a definition (e.g. let x stand for the temperature of the water). The symbol is then said to ‘represent’ that which it stands for. In well-defined problems the relationships between symbols and that which they represent can be specified unambiguously and it is easy to interpret the results. Unfortunately, the ease with which symbols can be made to represent something vanishes when we deal with complex problems, problems for which clear definitions and well-defined borders are less easily found" (58).

He then discusses how Putnam later refuted his own functionalism, the latter of which was taken up by Fodor and Chomsky in their computational and representational models. And which Cilliars describes as having "the embedded metaphysical loyalties [...] not only to a kind of Cartesian dualism, but also to an abstract, ahistorical idealism" (60-4). We see both types of metaphysics in Commons' own descriptions. And in Ross's use of the representational fractal complexity models.

Cilliars then goes on to show in great detail over many pages and chapters how the 'distributed' model of intra-brain and inter-brain/environment interaction is not a metaphysical model of either kind. And how it uses the science of dynamic systems to support that claim. But again, as noted in the earlier linked posts, there is also a split on which form of complexity is being used in dynamic systems.

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