Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments


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Complex: a complex is composed of components that can be distinguished from each other and are relatively autonomous. Complex behavior refers to systems that consist of several components. The relative independence of the components is manifested in their behavior. Relative autonomy of the components is determined by the description of the complex as a whole.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
III 140
Complex systems (e. g. sports teams) improve if their best performers play according to the same rules over a longer period of time. When a system improves, it reaches equilibrium and the range of variation decreases.
III 183
Complexity/Gould thesis: We will have to consider the complexity of the living and its historical development as a change in the entire system of variation.
The apparent progress in the history of life comes about through falsification: presumably there is no average tendency to progress in the individual lines of descent at all.
III 184
Development: in a system of straight-line movements limited on one side, random movement without favouring a direction inevitably causes the average position to move away from the point of origin on the wall.
III 205
Complexity/Gould: Thesis: The increase in complexity is not a real process. The findings as such cannot support such a theory, because in most habitats the simple forms are as prevalent today as they were in the past. (>Description levels).
Complexity/GouldVsHuxley, Th. H.: The "achieved upper limit" is not a measure of a "higher degree of organization in general".
III 245
Complexity/Gould: I would rather assume a slight natural overweight towards decreasing complexity in evolution.
Arguments for higher complexity: alleged benefits in competition for resources. GouldVs. Why should it be more useful?
Higher complexity can be combined with less flexibility.
III 249
Definition complexity: function of the number of its different parts and the irregularity of their arrangement. E.g. Scrap yards, compost heaps.
Opposite of complexity: order; homogeneous, redundant, e. g. palisade fences.
Complexity/Evolution: For example, different vertebrate sizes in vertebrates. Two different trends: distance from the left edge (simpleness) or extension from the left edge, which is maintained.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gould I
Stephen Jay Gould
The Panda’s Thumb. More Reflections in Natural History, New York 1980
German Edition:
Der Daumen des Panda Frankfurt 2009

Gould II
Stephen Jay Gould
Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes. Further Reflections in Natural History, New York 1983
German Edition:
Wie das Zebra zu seinen Streifen kommt Frankfurt 1991

Gould III
Stephen Jay Gould
Full House. The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin, New York 1996
German Edition:
Illusion Fortschritt Frankfurt 2004

Gould IV
Stephen Jay Gould
The Flamingo’s Smile. Reflections in Natural History, New York 1985
German Edition:
Das Lächeln des Flamingos Basel 1989

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-02-23
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