Complexity and Context-Dependency


CPM Report No.: 10-209
By: Bruce Edmonds
Date: 20th May 2010

To be presented at the Eurpean Conference on Complex Systems 2010 (ECCS), Lisbon, September 2010. 


It is argued that given the “anti-anthropomorphic” principle, that the universe is not structured for our benefit, that modelling trade-offs will necessarily mean that many of our models will be context-specific.  The context heuristic, that divides the processing into rich, fuzzy context-recognition and crisp, conscious reasoning and learning is outlined.  The consequences of accepting the impact of this human heuristic in the light of the necessity of accepting context-specificity in our modelling of complex systems is examined.  In particular the development of “islands” or related model clusters rather than over-arching laws and theories.  It is suggested that by accepting and dealing with context (rather than ignoring it) we can push the boundaries of science a little further.

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