Evolving Hierarchical Systems

Evolving Hierarchical Systems

by Stanley N. Salthe
     
 

ISBN-10: 0231060165

ISBN-13: 9780231060165

Pub. Date: 10/21/1985

Publisher: Columbia University Press

A bold effort to find a functional and transactional framework for synthetic evolutionary theory, Evolving Hierarchical Systems seeks to represent the order in nature by discriminating a hierarchical system and defining the logical boundaries of the concepts inherent in this system (such as time, causality, complexity, partitioning, scale, and

Overview

A bold effort to find a functional and transactional framework for synthetic evolutionary theory, Evolving Hierarchical Systems seeks to represent the order in nature by discriminating a hierarchical system and defining the logical boundaries of the concepts inherent in this system (such as time, causality, complexity, partitioning, scale, and polarity).

Salthe's basic assumption is that the world is unlimitedly complex. Biology and some other sciences, such as geology and applied physics, have become entangled in this complexity with, the author writes, "as little ability to negotiate it as a fly in a spider's web." He argues that biological nature in particular is undercharacterized in our representations, and because of that so is the rest of nature.

The book first describes the principles of hierarchical structure and discusses the process of discovering the relevant aspects of the hierarchy of nature. It then brings in the concept of self-reference and moves onto an interpretation and explanation of organic evolution in this framework. While Salthe's focus is in biology, the outline of a hierarchy theory he presents is asserted to be a "philosophical machine" that can be applied as a hermeneutical tool to many fields of inquiry concerned with change in complex systems.

Felt by the author to also be a response to Jacques Monod's Chance and Necessity, this book is a significant statement on the hierarchical organization of the surface of the earth. It is provocative reading not only for biologists but also for anthropologists, sociologists, geologists, and scientists interested in general systems research.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231060165
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
10/21/1985
Pages:
343
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

PrefaceAn Introduction: Structure and Representation of the WorldThe Individual EntitySome Basics of Hierarchical StructureRepresenting a Dynamic System Hierarchically: The Basic Triadic SystemRepresenting a Dynamic System Hierarchically: The Nontransivity of Effects Across LevelsThe Explicit Elaboration of a Hierarchy of NatureOrganic Evolution and the Hierarchy of NatureOrganic Evolution: Its Origin and Hierarchy StructureAppendixGlossaryReferencesIndex

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