The Complementary Nature / Edition 1

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Overview

Why do we divide our world into contraries? Why do we perceive and interpret so many of life's contraries as mutually exclusive, either/or dichotomies such as individual~collective, self~other, body~mind, nature~nurture,cooperation~competition? Throughout history, many have recognized that truth may well lie in between such polar opposites. In The Complementary Nature, Scott Kelso and DavidEngstrøm contend that ubiquitous contraries are complementary and propose a comprehensive,empirically based scientific theory of how the polarized world and the world in between can be reconciled. They nominate the tilde, or squiggle (~), as the symbolic punctuation for reconciled complementary pairs.

Experiments show that the human brain is capable of displaying two apparently contradictory, mutually exclusive behaviors at the same time.

Coordination dynamics — a mathematically expressed theory that reconciles the scientific language of "states" with the novel dynamical language of "tendencies" — attests to the complementary nature inherent in human brains and behavior. It may explain, Kelso and Engstrøm argue, why we (and nature)appear to partition things, events, and ideas into pairs. Kelso and Engstrøm's account is not just metaphorical; the reconciliations they describe are grounded in the principles and mathematical language of the theory of coordination dynamics. The Complementary Natureprovides a clear-cut methodology for this evolving theory of brain and behavior that can also be applied to areas and developments outside the neurosciences, hence aiding reconciliations within and between disparate fields.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"The Complementary Nature is a genuinely fascinating, provocative, and unique book.

It rises to the challenge of describing how either/or thinking obscures the in-between dynamic realities that constitute life itself and in turn how these realities rest on complementary rather than oppositional pairs. In the process, it breaks new ground and opens fresh terrain for future research by illuminating ways in which the science of coordination dynamics from the study of brains to the study of behavior offers new paths for understanding the nature of human nature." MaxineSheets-Johnstone, author of The Primacy of Movement

"*The Complementary Nature* is a genuinely fascinating, provocative, and unique book.

It rises to the challenge of describing how either/or thinking obscures the in-between dynamic realities that constitute life itself and in turn how these realities rest on complementary rather than oppositional pairs. In the process, it breaks new ground and opens fresh terrain for future research by illuminating ways in which the science of coordination dynamics — from the study of brains to the study of behavior — offers new paths for understanding the nature of human nature."—Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, author of *The Primacy of Movement*

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone
The Complementary Nature is a genuinely fascinating, provocative,and unique book. It rises to the challenge of describing how either/or thinking obscures the in-between dynamic realities that constitute life itself and in turn how these realities rest on complementary rather than oppositional pairs. In the process, it breaks new ground and opens fresh terrain for future research by illuminating ways in which the science of coordination dynamics —from the study of brains to the study of behavior — offers new paths for understanding the nature of human nature.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262612227
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2008
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

J. A. Scott Kelso holds the Glenwood and Martha Creech Chair in Science at Florida AtlanticUniversity and is Founder and Director of the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences.

David A. Engstrøm holds a Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology from the University of Colorado HealthSciences Center. Since 1991, he has worked with Scott Kelso to develop a conceptual link between coordination dynamics and complementary pairs.

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Table of Contents

Movement 1 Complementary pairs 17
Movement 2 Coordination dynamics 77
Movement 3 Complementary pair-coordination dynamics 183
Complementary pair collections by fields of endeavor 257
The complementary pair dictionary prototype 263
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