21 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2019
    1. I hope that non-theorists, even if they don't understand everything, will at least find some amusement in the many exotic beasts that complexity theory has uncovered.
  2. Mar 2018
    1. "This kind of analysis is characterized, first, by anti-atomism, by the idea tht we should not analyze single or individual elements in isolation but that one must look at the systematic relations amongst elements; second, it is characterized by the idea that the relations between elements are coherent and transformable, that is, that the elements form a structure." (Mason, 2008: 105)

    2. "It is complexity theory more broadly, however, that has drawn off poststructural methods, and establishes them as a form of critical realism" (Mason, 2008: 102)

    3. "Whereas Marxists like Althusser adopted a totalistic programme of seeking to explain the whole by understanding the interrelations between its component parts, for Foucault the totality always eluded analysis or understanding in terms of structure, but rather was characterised by incompleteness, indeterminacy, complexity and change. This was the core of his pluralism. As Foucault says, 'though it is true that these discontinuous discursive series each have, within certain limits, their regularity, it is undoubtedly no longer possible to establish links of mechanical causality, or of ideal necessity between the elements which constitute them. We must accept the introduction of alea (chance) as a category in the production of events' (1981: 69)" (Mason, 2008: 95)

    4. "Nietzsche's importance to Foucault can be seen as 'correcting Marx', especially in relation to the linkage between power-knowledge-truth, and the functioning of knowledge as an instrument of power. As Alan Schrift (1993, p.40) notes, Nietzsche's influence drew attention away from 'substances, subjects and things, and focussed attention instead on the relations between these substantives'. In a related way, Foucault 'draws our attention away from the substantive notino of power and directs our attention instead to the multifarious ways that power operates through the social order'. For Nietzsche, such relations were relations of forces. Foucault thus focussed on new relations as the relations of forces that existed and interacted within social systems as social practices. These were forces of repression and production that characterised the disciplinary society: forces that enable and block, subjugate and realise, and normalise and resist. In this model, power is not a thing, but a process, a relation of forces." (Mason, 2008: 92)

    5. "It was in terms of the philosophy of difference and Nietzsche's conception of multiplicities through a rejection of Platonic hierarchies that Foucault enunciates a theory of discursive formations, rejects Marxist and Hegelian conceptions of history and establishes an approach which broadly parallels contemporary complexity theories. The utilisation of Nietzsche signalled a rupture from Marxism in relation to a series of interrelated conceptual, theoretical and methodological precepts, including power, knowledge and truth, the subject, and the nature of historical change and determination." (Mason, 2008: 91)

    6. Foucault as Complexity Theorist in Education in the book Complexity Theory and the Philosophy of Education

      See also Research Methods in Education, which first introduced me to Complexity Theory as a method for research

    7. Mason perceives Foucault as a complexity theorist, and he believes he is relevant today in this capacity.

    1. Complexity Theory - Dynamical Systems Theory

      If we want to make change we should come at a problem from as many different areas as possible.

      We should be wary of the magic bullet. Complexity theory may be seen as post-structuralist or even further?

      This is part of an agency structure debate.

      There are varied factors that contribute to change.

      The connections of neurons are more important than the number of cells are more important for consciousness or the mind. This is a good analogy for why complexity theory is so essential.

      Consciousness emerges when critical mass is reached in a system.

      It's hard to know how much of a factor something can be in a causal system. For example, how much do we cause do we attribute to butterfly wings causing a storm in India.

      What causes change in the education system?

      We need to use words like compounding effects to explain change.

      We need to conceive of change in terms of speed and direction, like a mathematical function.

      We need to be wary of one dimensional change or one kind of initiative. You need to think of multiple factors.

      Effective intervention means intervention from every possible angle.

      We need to pump resources until we have autocatalysis.

      International Journal of Education Development Mark Mason

    1. Complexity Theory replaces simple causality with an emphasis on networks, linkages, holism, feedback, relationships and interactivity in context, emergence, dynamical systems, self-organization and an open system, rather than the closed world of the experimental laboratory. Even if we could conduct an experiment, its applicability to ongiong, emerging, interactive, relational, changing, open situations, in practice, may be limited. It is misconceived to hold variables constant in a dynamical, evolving, fluid, open situation.

  3. Aug 2017
    1. Ehrenfeld (2008) concurs with McDonough and Braungart, in his plea for a holistic approach towards sustainability: “Our society is addicted to reductionist ways of solving virtually all our problems. ... Over time, as we engage more and more in this practice, society’s (as well as individual’s) competence to address the complicated, messy problems we confront has diminished. Unsustainability is just such a messy problem. Reductionism will not make it go away.” (Ehrenfeld, 2008, p. 11-12)

      This reminds of the constant attempt of Complexity Theory to push for Systems analysis and Synthesis in contrast to Newtonian, reductionist analysis.

  4. Apr 2017
    1. This is why people can play the piano with their fingers but not with their toes.

      That does not really explain why there are very talented musicians that have limb defects, but I suppose that similar to a blind person being able to hear better, their brains adjust (like complex-adaptive systems do) and reassign a new input-element (e.g. the feet) to a left-over motoric system(e.g. the hands).

    1. Complexitytheorists

      Based on my extremely in-depth Wikipedia-ing, complexity theory not only proposes that systems are unpredictable but also that these systems are still constrained by rules. That seems like an interesting tension.

  5. Mar 2017
    1. Basically, an organism experiences too much or too little of something either within them or around them in the environment (i.e. something deviates from neutrality or optimum balance), which is then detected by our brains (i.e. via neural maps of the body).

      That reminds me of a complex-adaptive system and an external condition or intervention that makes the resilience of the system kick in to cope with the threat to have its system functions remain intact. So emotions could be the body-mind-soul complex's defense mechanism.

  6. Sep 2016
    1. hat use-value the curriculum may ultimately have for them in their particular contexts

      I see how this is problematic.

    2. As a result, students will begin to see rhetoric as an adaptive process that requires a proliferation of methods at every instant. Instead of pre-ordained processes or methods, students would “start with experience, generalize a pattern or schema from that experience, turn that pattern on future experience, and then adapt the pattern to devise a new schema


    3. Hawk’s emphasis on ecology and immersion promises to counter-act such hyper-disciplinarity and ossification.

      Yes: this is so key.

    4. s. It is no surprise then that institutionalized writing is steadily moving away from the essay as the universal proving ground for student writers, and towards teaching to write effectively in a variety of genres students can expect to work in as they leave college for the workforce. This shift from writing as a single, universal skill to writing as multiple and genre-based is both potentially liberating and potentially disenfranchising.


    5. as the ability to think of different ways of locating themselves within complex human-technological networks, the emergence of students’ own purposes for using rhetoric, and along with that, their own methods of rhetorical invention.

      The real purpose of Hawk's pedagogy.

    6. Instead of a pedagogy of heuristics, which presupposes interiority, Hawk argues for the importance of “ecology and immersion,” in which students gain a greater understanding of their rhetorical presence as multivalent, existing from moment to moment, in connection with other bodies and technologies

      As opposed to "synchronic."

  7. Jun 2016
    1. This basic process has implications for rhetorical heuristics: (1) students need to develop their own schemata to fit their particular topics/situations, and (2) if we give them schemata first, their goal should be to revise those schemata as a part of the invention process rather than follow them prescriptively

      Repurposing Taylor's Complexity Theory to Comp.