Complexity in the Humanities and Sciences
330 Innovation Drive
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Complex systems are nonlinear systems characterized by a multiplicity of interacting components that give rise to higher-order, emergent phenomena. The local behavior of small-scale components gives rise to a global behavior pattern, which in turn affects and restricts the local. From galaxies to ant colonies—even to human societies—the science of complexity offers a new and computationally powerful lens for understanding the deep structures of nature, human societies, and human minds.
What characterizes complex systems? Why does complexity recur in different orders of scale, from the galactic to the microscopic? What is emergence and what qualifies as emergence? Are humans, human societies, and human minds complex systems? What kind of ethical or political consequences might that have?
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