The Practical Modelling of Context-Dependent Causal Processes – A Recasting of Robert Rosen’s Thought

CPM Report No.: 07-172
By:  Bruce Edmonds


The paper is a critical recasting of some of Robert Rosen’s thought.  It is argued that a lot of the thrust of his work can be better understood when re-cast in terms of the context-dependency of causal models.  When re-cast in this way I seek to highlight how his thought does not lead to the abandonment of formal modelling and a descent into relativism but a more careful and rigours science of complex systems.  This also sheds light on several aspects of modelling including: the need for multiple models; the nature of modelling noise; and why adaptive systems cause particular problems to modellers.  In this way I hope to decrease researchers fear that, by taking Rosen’s criticisms seriously, they would have to abandon the realm of acceptable science.

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