a crude look at the whole

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A Crude Look At The Whole

Author : John H. Miller
ISBN : 9780465073863
Genre : Science
File Size : 35. 5 MB
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Imagine trying to understand a stained glass window by breaking it into pieces and examining it one shard at a time. While you could probably learn a lot about each piece, you would have no idea about what the entire picture looks like. This is reductionism—the idea that to understand the world we only need to study its pieces—and it is how most social scientists approach their work. In A Crude Look at the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller shows why we need to start looking at whole pictures. For one thing, whether we are talking about stock markets, computer networks, or biological organisms, individual parts only make sense when we remember that they are part of larger wholes. And perhaps more importantly, those wholes can take on behaviors that are strikingly different from that of their pieces. Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, reveals astounding global patterns linking the organization of otherwise radically different structures: It might seem crude, but a beehive's temperature control system can help predict market fluctuations and a mammal's heartbeat can help us understand the “heartbeat” of a city and adapt urban planning accordingly. From enduring racial segregation to sudden stock market disasters, once we start drawing links between complex systems, we can start solving what otherwise might be totally intractable problems. Thanks to this revolutionary perspective, we can finally transcend the limits of reductionism and discover crucial new ideas. Scientifically founded and beautifully written, A Crude Look at the Whole is a powerful exploration of the challenges that we face as a society. As it reveals, taking the crude look might be the only way to truly see.

A Crude Look At The Whole

Author : John Miller
ISBN : 9780465073863
Genre : Science
File Size : 34. 99 MB
Format : PDF, Mobi
Download : 619
Read : 337

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Imagine trying to understand a stained glass window by breaking it into pieces and examining it one shard at a time. While you could probably learn a lot about each piece, you would have no idea about what the entire picture looks like. This is reductionism—the idea that to understand the world we only need to study its pieces—and it is how most social scientists approach their work. In A Crude Look at the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller shows why we need to start looking at whole pictures. For one thing, whether we are talking about stock markets, computer networks, or biological organisms, individual parts only make sense when we remember that they are part of larger wholes. And perhaps more importantly, those wholes can take on behaviors that are strikingly different from that of their pieces. Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, reveals astounding global patterns linking the organization of otherwise radically different structures: It might seem crude, but a beehive’s temperature control system can help predict market fluctuations and a mammal’s heartbeat can help us understand the “heartbeat” of a city and adapt urban planning accordingly. From enduring racial segregation to sudden stock market disasters, once we start drawing links between complex systems, we can start solving what otherwise might be totally intractable problems. Thanks to this revolutionary perspective, we can finally transcend the limits of reductionism and discover crucial new ideas. Scientifically founded and beautifully written, A Crude Look at the Whole is a powerful exploration of the challenges that we face as a society. As it reveals, taking the crude look might be the only way to truly see.

A Crude Look At The Whole

Author : Miller H. John
ISBN : 0465055699
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 61. 95 MB
Format : PDF
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From economic meltdowns to how people cooperate, there is much about the human world that eludes our understanding. John Miller, a leading expert in the computational study of complex adaptive systems, shows in A Crude Look at the Whole how a range of studies in the natural and social sciences can help us better understand our most pressing problems. The key is to avoid reductionism--simplifying important systems down to a few apparently essential variables in hopes of finding the means for control. Instead, Miller would have us deal with rougher sketches of phenomena. Those pictures may be cruder, but they show us similarities between a mammal’s heartbeat and the "heartbeat” of a city that add to our understanding of urban growth and planning, or help us see how throwing aside detail-obsessed methodologies like Six Sigma can speed the discovery of vital new goods and ideas. Ultimately, Miller argues, by understanding the complex systems underlying the major societal issues of our time, from enduring racial segregation to sudden stock-market disasters, we will be better equipped to confront and anticipate such challenges before they put an end to us. In A Crude Look at the Whole, Miller gives us a powerful exploration of these challenges and presents his field’s most vital work to answer this compelling question: how can we learn enough to make the most of our economy, our world, and ourselves?

Global Sustainability

Author : Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
ISBN : 9780521769341
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 32. 1 MB
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Interdisciplinary exploration of the best scientific and political strategies to attain global sustainability, from many Nobel Prize-winning and other high-profile authors.

Thinking In Complexity

Author : Klaus Mainzer
ISBN : 9783662033050
Genre : Science
File Size : 27. 63 MB
Format : PDF
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Since the first edition sold out in less than a year, we now present the revised second edition of Mainzer's popular book. The theory of nonlinear complex systems has become a successful problem-solving approach in the natural sciences from laser physics, quantum chaos, and meteorology to computer simulations of cell growth in biology. It is now recognized that many of our social, ecological, and political problems are also of a global, complex, and nonlinear nature. And one of the most exciting contemporary topics is the idea that even the human mind is governed largely by the nonlinear dynamics of complex systems. In this wide-ranging but concise treatment, Prof. Mainzer discusses, in a nontechnical language, the common framework behind these endeavors. Emphasis is given to the evolution of new structures in natural and cultural systems and we see clearly how the new integrative approach can give insights not available from traditional reductionistic methods.

Rethinking Civilizational Analysis

Author : Said Arjomand
ISBN : 9781412931342
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 46. 51 MB
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'At last, a volume on civilization that truly reflects the complexity of multiple civilizations. The wealth of contributions Arjomand and Tiryakian have assembled demonstrates the value of an old concept for understanding the awful dilemmas confronting human kind in the global age. Its thoroughgoing renewal here establishes this book as the essential benchmark for future scholars of civilization' - Martin Albrow, Founding Editor of International Sociology and author of The Global Age - winner of the European Amalfi Prize, 1997 'In our tension filled world, many are heralding, and others fearing, a"clash of civilizations." The contributors to this volume provides a healthy and persuasive argument about why this clash need not, and certainly should not, take place. They do so, moreover, not by rejecting the concept of civilization, but by developing a less primordial, homogenous, and essentialist concept of it. An important collection that provides illumination in this sometimes frighteningly dark time' - Jeffrey Alexander, Professor and Chair of Sociology at Yale University 'The concept of civilization may well replace the notions of globalization and identity as the core component in the vocabulary of 21st century sociology. The authors contribute a great deal to the clarification of fashionable controversies around the "clash of civilizations" and "multiculturalism". They go a long way toward purging the concept of civilization of its ideological overtones, and they suceed admirably in turning it into powerful analytic tool of an emerging fleld of macrosociology, known already as civilizational analysis' - Piotr Sztompka, President, International Sociological Association Although the concept of 'civilization' has deep roots in the social sciences, there is an urgent need to re-think it for contemporary times. This book points to an exhaustion in using 'the nation state' and 'world system' as the basic macro-units of social analysis because they do not get to grips with the 'soft power' variable of cultural factors involved in global aspects of development. Also, globalization requires us to reconsider the link between civilization and a fixed or given territory. This book focuses upon the dynamic aspect of civilizations. Among the topics covered are: · Civilizational analysis and social theory · Global civilization and local cultures · Civilizational forms · Rationalization and Civilization · Civilizations as zones of prestige · Historical and comparative dimensions of civilization · The clash of civilizations.

Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned

Author : Kenneth O Stanley
ISBN : 9783319155241
Genre : Computers
File Size : 51. 85 MB
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Why does modern life revolve around objectives? From how science is funded, to improving how children are educated -- and nearly everything in-between -- our society has become obsessed with a seductive illusion: that greatness results from doggedly measuring improvement in the relentless pursuit of an ambitious goal. In Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned, Stanley and Lehman begin with a surprising scientific discovery in artificial intelligence that leads ultimately to the conclusion that the objective obsession has gone too far. They make the case that great achievement can't be bottled up into mechanical metrics; that innovation is not driven by narrowly focused heroic effort; and that we would be wiser (and the outcomes better) if instead we whole-heartedly embraced serendipitous discovery and playful creativity. Controversial at its heart, yet refreshingly provocative, this book challenges readers to consider life without a destination and discovery without a compass.

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