Growth Points (?) in Emerging Emergence:
Evolution, Architecture, Story Telling, and Generativity
(Theory and Practice of Non-Normal Inquiry)
Background to an evolving story
Some Thoughts on Similarities Between Brain Function and Morphogenesis, and Their Significance for Research Methology and Biological Theory (1988)
"getting it progressively less wrong" (1993)
- in distributed systems, the whole is in important ways more than the sum of the parts
- in multi-level systems, one can/should start anywhere, move both up and down, causation is bi-directional
- biological systems are, in general, exploratory rather than objective oriented
- biological systems exploit indeterminacy; what appears to an external observer to be programs having objectives reflects similarities in strategies of exploration and starting points rather than "intention"
getting it less wrong, the brain's way, (2003)
bipartite brain, (2005)
science as story telling (2005)
generativity (beyond deconstructionism/postmodernism), 2005-6
With thanks to Michael Krausz (among others):
a deflationary (no appeal to "Truth", "Reality"), non-foundationalist (no presumption that there is a characterizable starting point), pragmatic ("puzzle solving"), non-deterministic, non-terminating, multi-layered, transactionalist perspectivism (no preferred reference frame, new things result from comparing views from different reference frames) that might encourage compassion/social justice but starts with neither
Bumping up against other stories (multiple non-falsifiable stories, and a there there that isn't everywhere)
- The Wolfram Challenge: Digital Determinism
- a one-dimensional CA can produce all algorithmically calculable patterns, sequences of patterns
- no agent, meaning, purpose, compassion
- absolutely deterministic, though can be "unpredictable" in narrow (but important) sense as well as non-reversible
- has some interesting features (non-reversibility, non "anticibility"), some less appealing ones (as above)
- not (yet?) falsifiable, generative?
|As of and from 8 February
Emerging emergence: evolving a form of inquiry that
- makes no appeal to truth/reality
- the significance of either a fixed starting point or a pre-existing goal
- the existence of any preferred reference frame (spatial, temporal, conceptual)
- yet is capable of
- successful local puzzle-solving
- more integrative activity
- local and more global progress
- has yet to be falsified
- co-exists productively with other yet to be falsified forms of inquiry
- creates context for/attributes causal significance to agency/purpose/meaning/compassion/social justice
- is generative
Issues arisen so far
- Are the properties enumerated characteristics of emerging emergence or of the stories that result from it? a mix of both?
- What role does "falsifiability" play in emerging emergence?
- Emerging emergence may reduce successfully to "science" locally but how does it handle more global considerations? What is "generativity"?
- Ought there to be an elaboration that distinguishes "compassion" from "social justice"?
- Is there significance to the etymological relation between "normal" and "normative"?
- Is "non-normal" perjorative? undesireably so? for students? for others?
Let's continue "bumping" emerging emergence against other forms of inquiry to see what emerges ...
- Intelligent Design (and sundry variants thereof, including science as progressive approach to a true description of reality)
- Compassion and social justice
- assumes intentional agents
- assumes significance of intentional acts
- implies a fixed objective
- not yet falsifiable
- though clearly runs into problems of attribution and efficacy, failures to achieve objectives not always attributable to competing intentional forces
- Evolution, science as story telling, emergence
"We may ... have to relinquish the notion that changes of paradigm carry scientists and those who learn from them closer to the truth ... nothing that has been said or will be said makes [science] a process of evolution toward anything ... If we can learn to substitute evolution from-what-we do-know for evolution-toward-what-we-wish-to-know, a number of vexing problems may vanish in the process ...
I cannot yet specify in any detail the consequences of this alternate view of scientific advance. But it helps to recognize that the conceptual transposition here recommended is very close to the one the West undertook just a century ago. When Darwin first published his theory of evolution, what most bothered many professionals was neither the notion of species change nor the possible descent of man from the apes ... For many men the abolition of [a] teleological kind of evolution was the most significant and least palatable of Darwin's suggestions ... What could 'evolution', 'development', and 'progress' mean in the absence of any specified goal? ... The process described [here] as the resolution of revolutions is the selection by conflict within the scientific community of the fittest way to practice future science ... The net result ... is the wonderfully adapted set of instruments we call modern scientific knowledge ... And the entire process may have occurred, as we no suppose biological evolution did, without benefit of a set goal, a permanent fixed truth ..."
------ Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
- does not assume intentional agents at the outset but allows from their subsequent appearance (along with meaning, compassion, and conceptions of/concerns about social justice)
- allows for significance of intentional acts but recognizes that they may be constrained in their efficacy by potent non-intentional forces
- denies a fixed objective or an optimal set of process rules
- allows for (requires?) indeterminacy
- not (yet?) falsifiable
- in fact not only allows for but encourages the existence at any given time of multiple competing stories
- avoids premature story telling that would inhibit future story development (by self and others)
- and hence tries to rely on "simplest" starting points?
- demonstrably expansive, with perhaps no criterion for "generativity" except after the fact ... leaving scientists/story tellers (like living organisms in general, to have to guess/bet?
Multi-level architecture and bidirectional causality
The relations between observations and interpretations are nested rather than parallel or hierarchical.
The relations among physics, biology, social science are nested rather than parallel or hierarchical
The relations among body/brain/self are nested, rather than parallel or hierarchical
The relations between individuals and societies/cultures are nested than parallel or (necessarily) hierarchical
A current evaluation of the generativity of science as story telling/emerging emergence/bipartite brain/?
"Cluelessness"/pragmatism/reflective shmuckiness: a defensible theory of exploration, inquiry, life
- Declines equally to be trapped into the known problems of both "naive reductionism" and "abject relativism" (to say nothing of a "dictatorship of relativism")
- Intersects productively with other stories, as per the above and
- Intersections raise (or highlight) new questions requiring new stories/observations, directions that might be pursued productively(?), as above and ...
- What IS an "agent" as distinct from the universe?
- What is a intentionality, free will, meaning, compassion if we don't start with such things as primitives?
- an element consisting itself of bounded elements, able to generate counter-factuals and perhaps exploit indeterminacy?
- See, for example, Free Will?, and to come ... ?
- How could things that don't exist as primitives come into being?
- Is indeterminacy essential for these phenomena?
- What new things could come into being in the future?
- Provides a (for now) coherent/comprehensible guide for individual behavior/choices (a "morality"?), including some rationale for compassion, social justice ...
- There is neither a solid foundation nor a fixed objective
- and so no point in fighting about either
- Start where you are, solve local problems/puzzles, learn from/be changed by the process, imagine what might yet be, act to try and create it, learn from/be changed by that ("radical incrementalism"?)
- Defer for the present those problems/puzzles lacking local solutions or for which possible local solutions seem likely to reduce rather than enhance the ongoing process of exploration
- Accept/value that everyone starts in a different place, experiences/tries different things, and so will have at any given time different stories (also,like yours, always in progress)
- Listen to other peoples' stories, share one's own, learn from, be changed by the exchanges
- Avoid getting preoccupied with what has been, is, should be. Enjoy process and the room made available by what might be that neither you not anyone else has yet conceived.
Local problem solving = "normal science" = "normal" inquiry
- depends on falsifiability ("getting it less wrong")
- does NOT depend on "truth/reality"
- highly successful but also has some problems
- tends not see broader patterns
- is prone to premature story telling
- can get trapped on local peaks
More global inquiry = "revolutionary science" = "non-normal" inquiry
- falsifiability a relevant but not an adequate citerion, need to add generativity
- equally need not depend on "truth/reality"
- absolutely dependent on local problem solving processes to create broader patterns
- can usefully contribute to local problem solving
- can be done by
- looking from wider perspective to notice patterns
- making observations that seriously upset local problem solving processes in several realms
- denying one or more generally accepted starting points and following the implications of such denial
Neither "normal" nor "non-normal" should be regarded as perjorative. The two forms of inquiry are mutually interdependent, and together constitute an adaptive structure with a bi-level architecture and bi-directional causation.
Notes after second session
Interesting to think of this in "closed/open" system terms. What this does, in some ways, is to "open" the system by embedding the story teller in the system, treating the story teller as simultaneously describing/being influenced by the system and as an influence on the system (cf Being, Thinking, Story Telling: What It Is and How it Works, Reflectively). There are important (?) resonances to the difficulties of formally handling recursion, as well as to the problems of completeness/consistency. In any case, the simple bottom line at the moment seems to be that "conflict" is a feature rather than a bug, that non-normal inquiry is critically dependent on the tensions between various forms of normal inquiry and needs itself to be in tension, both with normal inquiry and alternate non-normal inquiries?