I have no interest in defending Wolfram
as either a person or an academic scholar against the kinds of criticisms expressed (appropriately I think) in class today
. I do though want to explain and justify my characterization of his work as "digital determinism" and as a unique/important "coherent and comprehensive explanation of everything". And hence as, whatever its shortcomings, a body of exploration/thinking that it is important to understand and pay attention to.
I earlier argued
that "computer models are not capable of nor aimed at determining what is 'real'" but instead are intended "to establish that some pattern/phenomenon that is presumed to depend on complexity/planning/a directive element can be produced without that. To show what might be, rather than what is." Wolfram's work needs to be appreciated in these terms. It is an assertion that one might in principle account for all known phenomena (literally ALL, from physics through biology, psychology, sociology, history, and, yes, art) in terms of very simple things (locations having only two possible states) interacting in very simple ways (locally and deterministically in digital time steps).