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ROBERT ROSEN AND GEORGE LAKOFF: THE ROLE OF CAUSALITY IN COMPLEX SYSTEMS. Donald C Mikulecky Professor emeritus and Senior Fellow in the VCU Center for the Study of Biological Complexity http://www.people.vcu.edu/~mikuleck/. ROBERT ROSEN.

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ROBERT ROSEN AND GEORGE LAKOFF: THE ROLE OF CAUSALITY IN COMPLEX SYSTEMS


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robert rosen and george lakoff the role of causality in complex systems

ROBERT ROSEN AND GEORGE LAKOFF:THE ROLE OF CAUSALITY IN COMPLEX SYSTEMS

Donald C Mikulecky

Professor emeritus and Senior Fellow in the VCU Center for the Study of Biological Complexity

http://www.people.vcu.edu/~mikuleck/

robert rosen
ROBERT ROSEN
  • STUDENT OF NICHOLAS RASHEVSKY WHO WAS THE FOUNDER OF THE MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY PROGRAM AT CHICAGO. WROTE BOOKS ON NEURAL NETWORKS AND OTHER ASPECTS OF COMPLEXITY IN THE 1930S. WROTE ABOUT COMPLEXITY IN THE 1950S.
  • AUTHOR OF MANY IMPORTANT BOOKS ON COMPLEXITY INCLUDING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS, LIFE ITSELF, AND ESSAYS ON LIFE ITSELF
george lakoff
GEORGE LAKOFF
  • COGNITIVE LINGUISTISTICS
  • DEVELOPED THE CONCEPT OF FRAMING
  • MANY BOOKS
  • USES COMPLEXITY THEORY IN A VERY EFFECTIVE WAY
  • LOOKS AT CAUSALITY AS A CENTRAL ISSUE IN HIS ANALYSIS OF DIFFEREING WOLD VIEWS
  • HIS WORK HAS A DIRECT BEARING ON COMPLEXITY SCIENCE
two of lakoff s recent books need our attention
TWO OF LAKOFF’S RECENT BOOKS NEED OUR ATTENTION
  • DON’T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT: KNOW YOUR VALUES AND FRAME THE DEBATE, CHELSEA GREEN, 2004.
  • WHOSE FREEDOM: THE BATTLE OVER AMERICA’S MOST IMPORTANT IDEA, FARRAR,STRAUS AND GIROUX, 2006
what is framing the question
WHAT IS “FRAMING THE QUESTION”?
  • BASED ON THE WORK OF GEORGE LAKOFF
  • COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS
  • FRAMES ARE THE MENTAL STRUCTURES THAT SHAPE THE WAY WE SEE THE WORLD
  • FACTS, DATA, MODELS, ETC. ONLY HAVE MEANING IN A CONTEXT
  • LEADS US TO A SCIENTIFIC APPLICATION OF FRAMING : ROSEN’S THEORY OF COMPLEXITY
the modeling relation the essence of science
THE MODELING RELATION: THE ESSENCE OF SCIENCE
  • ALLOWS US TO ASSIGN MEANING TO THE WORLD AROUND US
  • STANDS FOR OUR THINKING PROCESS
  • CAUSALITY IN THE NATURAL SYSTEM IS DEALT WITH THROUGH IMPLICATION IN A FORMAL SYSTEM
  • THERE IS AN ENCODING OF THE NATURAL SYSTEM INTO THE FORMAL SYSTEM AND A DECODING BACK
  • WHEN IT ALL HANGS TOGETHER WE HAVE A MODEL
the modeling relation a model of how we make models a science of framing

ENCODING

NATURAL

SYSTEM

FORMAL

SYSTEM

CAUSAL

EVENT

MANIPULATION

DECODING

FORMAL

SYSTEM

NATURAL

SYSTEM

THE MODELING RELATION: A MODEL OF HOW WE MAKE MODELS, A SCIENCE OF FRAMING
we have a useful model when
WE HAVE A USEFUL MODEL WHEN

AND

ARE SATISFACTORY WAYS OF “UNDERSTANDING”

THE CHANGE IN THE WORLD “OUT THERE”

the modeling relation a model of how we make models

ENCODING

NATURAL

SYSTEM

FORMAL

SYSTEM

CAUSAL

EVENT

IMPLICATION

DECODING

FORMAL

SYSTEM

NATURAL

SYSTEM

THE MODELING RELATION: A MODEL OF HOW WE MAKE MODELS
more on the modeling relation
MORE ON THE MODELING RELATION
  • THE FORMAL SYSTEM DOES NOT INCLUDE INFORMATION ABOUT ENCODING AND/OR DECODING
  • THEREFORE MODELING WILL ALWAYS BE AN ART
  • ONLY IN THE NEWTONIAN PARADIGM DOES THE FORMAL SYSTEM BECOME THE NATURAL SYSTEM (ENCODING AND DECODING ARE AUTOMATIC) AND ALL THAT IS LEFT TO DO IS TO MEASURE THINGS
why is objectivity a myth or why is science a belief structure
WHY IS “OBJECTIVITY” A MYTH? (OR: WHY IS SCIENCE A BELIEF STRUCTURE)
  • THE FORMAL SYSTEM DOES NOT AND CAN NOT TELL US HOW TO ENCODE AND DECODE. (MODELING IS AN ART!)
  • THE FORMAL SYSTEM DOES NOT AND CAN NOT TELL US WHEN THE MODEL WORKS, THAT IS A JUDGEMENT CALL EVEN IF OTHER FORMALISMS ARE ENLISTED TO HELP (FOR EXAMPLE: STATISTICS)
  • MODELS EXIST IN A CONTEXT: A FRAME
why what traditional science did to the modeling relation made the present situation inevitable
WHY WHAT “TRADITIONAL SCIENCE” DID TO THE MODELING RELATION MADE THE PRESENT SITUATION INEVITABLE:
  • WE ARE TOO AFRAID OF “BELIEFS” (SCEPTICISM IS “IN”)
  • WE DEVELOPED THE MYTH OF “OBJECTIVITY”
reductionism has framed complexity theory
Reductionism has framed complexity theory
  • Rather than change methods we have the changed names for what we do
  • The consequences are significant
  • It is impossible for you to believe what is being taught in this lecture and to then simply add it to your repertoire
  • The reason is that in order to see the world in a new way you have to step out of the traditional frame and into a new one. Once done, you can never go back. The ability to reframe a question is the basis for change and broadening of ideas.
what traditional science did to frame the modeling relation

FORMAL

SYSTEM

NATURAL

SYSTEM

MANIPULATION

CAUSAL

EVENT

FORMAL

SYSTEM

NATURAL

SYSTEM

WHAT “TRADITIONAL SCIENCE” DID TO FRAME THE MODELING RELATION
what traditional science did to frame the modeling relation15

FORMAL

SYSTEM

NATURAL

SYSTEM

MANIPULATION

FORMAL

SYSTEM

NATURAL

SYSTEM

WHAT “TRADITIONAL SCIENCE” DID TO FRAME THE MODELING RELATION
why what traditional science did to the modeling relation made the present situation inevitable16
WHY WHAT “TRADITIONAL SCIENCE” DID TO THE MODELING RELATION MADE THE PRESENT SITUATION INEVITABLE:
  • WE MORE OR LESS FORGOT THAT THERE WAS AN ENCODING AND DECODING
slide17
WHY WHAT “TRADITIONAL SCIENCE” DID TO THE MODELING RELATION MADE THE PRESENT SITUATION INEVITABLE: IT FRAMED THE QUESTIN
  • THE “REAL WORLD” REQUIRES MORE THAN ONE “FORMAL SYSTEM” TO MODEL IT (THERE IS NO “UNIVERSAL MODEL”)
syntax vs semantics
Syntax vs Semantics
  • The map is not the territory
  • An equation is just an equation without interpretation
  • This means we use formalisms in a context
  • This context dependence also exists in nature
  • This is one reason why there can never be a largest model
some consequences
SOME CONSEQUENCES
  • REDUCTIONISM DID SERIOUS DAMAGE TO THERMODYNAMICS
  • THERMODYNAMICS IS MORE IN HARMONY WITH TOPOLOGICAL MATHEMATICS THAN IT IS WITH ANALYTICAL MATHEMATICS
  • THUS TOPOLOGY AND NOT MOLECULAR STATISTICS IS THE FUNDAMENTAL TOOL
context dependence necessarily introduces circularity
Context dependence necessarily introduces circularity
  • A process happens in a context
  • The process usually changes that context
  • If the context changes the process usually changes as a result.
  • Living systems are replete with examples of this
self reference circularity and the genome
SELF-REFERENCE, CIRCULARITY AND THE GENOME

REPLICATION

ENZYMES

DNA

PROTEINS

TRANSCRIPTION

homeostasis
HOMEOSTASIS

MILLEU FOR CELLS, TISSUES AND ORGANS

TISSUES

AND

ORGANS

CELLS

can we get rid of self reference that is circularity
CAN WE GET RID OF SELF-REFERENCE, THAT IS, CIRCULARITY?
  • IT HAS BEEN TRIED
  • IT FAILED
  • THE ALTERNATIVE IS TO “GO AROUND” IT – THAT IS TO IGNORE CASES WHERE IT POPS UP
  • WHAT IF IT IS VERY COMMON?
what is complexity
WHAT IS COMPLEXITY?
  • TOO MANY DEFINITIONS, SOME CONFLICTING
  • OFTEN INTERCHANGED WITH “COMPLICATED”
  • HAS A REAL MEANING BUT AFTER THE QUESTION IS REFRAMED
  • THAT MEANING ITSELF IS COMPLEX(THIS IS SELF-REFERENTIAL: HOW CAN WE DEFINE “COMPLEX” USING “COMPLEX”?)
rosen s concept for complexity a new frame
ROSEN’S CONCEPT FOR COMPLEXITY: A NEW FRAME

Complexity is the property of a real world system that is manifest in the inability of any one formalism being adequate to capture all its properties. It requires that we find distinctly different ways of interacting with systems. Distinctly different in

the sense that when we make successful models, the formal systems needed to describe each distinct aspect are NOT

derivable from each other

slide26

The Mexican sierra [fish] has "XVII-15-IX" spines in the dorsal fin. These can easily be counted ... We could, if we wished, describe the sierra thus: "D. XVII-15-IX; A. II-15-IX," but we could see the fish alive and swimming, feel it plunge against the lines, drag it threshing over the rail, and even finally eat it. And there is no reason why either approach should be inaccurate.

Spine-count description need not suffer because another approach is also used. Perhaps, out of the two approaches we thought there might emerge a picture more complete and even more accurate that either alone could produce. -- John Steinbeck, novelist, with Edward Ricketts, marine biologist (1941)

complex systems vs simple mechanisms
COMPLEX

NO LARGEST MODEL

WHOLE MORE THAN SUM OF PARTS

CAUSAL RELATIONS RICH AND INTERTWINED

GENERIC

ANALYTIC  SYNTHETIC

NON-FRAGMENTABLE

NON-COMPUTABLE

REAL WORLD

SIMPLE

LARGEST MODEL

WHOLE IS SUM OF PARTS

CAUSAL RELATIONS DISTINCT

N0N-GENERIC

ANALYTIC = SYNTHETIC

FRAGMENTABLE

COMPUTABLE

FORMAL SYSTEM

COMPLEX SYSTEMS VS SIMPLE MECHANISMS
framing the question
FRAMING THE QUESTION
  • DON’T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT
  • IMPOSSIBILITY OF AVOIDING THE FRAME
  • IN SCIENCE THE DOMINANT FRAME IS REDUCTIONISM AND THE ASSOCIATED MECHANICAL THINKING
  • THE DOMINANT MODERN MANIFESTATIONS INCLUDE MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND NONLINEAR DYNAMICS
an example of reframing the question in science to get an answer the work of robert rosen
AN EXAMPLE OF REFRAMING THE QUESTION IN SCIENCE TO GET AN ANSWER : THE WORK OF ROBERT ROSEN
  • WHAT IS LIFE (SCHROEDINGER)?
  • WHY IS AN ORGANISM DIFFERENT FROM A MACHINE?
lakoff on causality two distinct kinds
LAKOFF ON CAUSALITY: TWO DISTINCT KINDS
  • DIRECT CAUSATION (REDUCTIONISM)
  • SYSTEMIC CAUSATION (COMPLEXITY)
rosen and lakoff both recognized that direct causality was the way reductionists saw causality
ROSEN AND LAKOFF BOTH RECOGNIZED THAT DIRECT CAUSALITY WAS THE WAY REDUCTIONISTS SAW CAUSALITY
  • DIRECT CAUSALITY IS THE SIMPLEST KIND
  • SINGLE AGENT EXERTS FORCE ON SOMETHING AND IT CHANGES OR MOVES AS A RESULT
  • NO INTERMEDIATE CAUSE
  • NO MULTIPLE AGENTS
the relational approach to a complex reality
THE RELATIONAL APPROACH TO A COMPLEX REALITY
  • FOCUS ON THE ORGANIZATION
  • DEVELOP A SET OF FUNCTIONAL COMPONENTS WHICH CAPTURE THAT ORGANIZATION
  • UTILIZE THE CAUSAL RELATIONS RESULTING FROM ANSWERING “WHY?”
functional components
FUNCTIONAL COMPONENTS
  • MUST POSSESS ENOUGH IDENTITY TO BE CONSIDERED A “THING”
  • MUST BE ABLE TO ACQUIRE PROPERTIES FROM LARGER SYSTEMS TO WHICH IT MAY BELONG
  • ITS FORMAL IMAGE IS A MAPPING f: A -----> B
  • THIS INTRODUCES A NEW KIND OF “DYNAMICS” : RELATIONAL
rosen used aristotle to introduce a form of systemic causality the four becauses why a house
ROSEN USED ARISTOTLE TO INTRODUCE A FORM OF SYSTEMIC CAUSALITY THE FOUR BECAUSES: WHY A HOUSE?
  • MATERIAL: THE STUFF IT’S MADE OF
  • EFFICIENT: IT NEEDED A BUILDER
  • FORMAL: THERE WAS A BLUEPRINT
  • FINAL: IT HAS A PURPOSE
rosen srelational representation of an organism is systemic
ROSEN’SRELATIONAL REPRESENTATION OF AN ORGANISM IS SYSTEMIC
  • INVOLVES MAPPINGS
  • METABOLISM IS f: A  B
  • A REPRESENTS METABOLITES WHICH CAN ALSO EXCHANGE WITH THE ENVIRONMENT
  • B REPRESENTS THE RESULTS OF METABOLISM
  • f IS A MAPPING FROM A TO B
  • MULTIPLE AND INTERMEDIATE CAUSES ARE MANDITORY
metabolism repair systems
METABOLISM/REPAIR SYSTEMS
  • BASED ON INPUT/OUTPUT REPRESENTATIONS OF SYSTEMS
  • MORE ABSTRACT
  • ALLOW CAUSALITY TO BE REPRESENTED
  • LEAD TO NEW INFORMATION
  • ARE BASED ON RECOGNITION THAT BUILDING UP AND TEARING DOWN ARE PART OF THE LIFE PROCESS
the importance of catabolism and anabolism
THE IMPORTANCE OF CATABOLISM AND ANABOLISM
  • NO STRUCTURE IS PERMANENT
  • ADAPTABILITY AND CHANGE INHERENT
  • NEEDS SPECIAL TYPE OF ORGANIZATION
  • IMPORTANT FOR UNDERSTANDING EVOLUTION, DEVELOPMENT, AND HEALING
the causal relationships
THE CAUSAL RELATIONSHIPS
  • A IS THE MATERIAL CAUSE OF B (DOTTED ARROW)
  • f IS THE EFFICIENT CAUSE OF B
  • OTHER COMPONENTS FOR REPAIR AND REPLICATION COME IN BECAUSE THESE COMPONENTS HAVE A FINITE LIFETIME: CATABOLISM AND ANABOLISM OR “TURNOVER”
organisms
ORGANISMS
  • ARE COMPLEX SYSTEMS
  • ARE CLOSED TO EFFICIENT CAUSE
  • ARE AUTOPOIETIC UNITIES
human behavior is complex
HUMAN BEHAVIOR IS COMPLEX
  • WE CAN APPLY THESE IDEAS TO HUMAN BEHAVIOR
  • WE HAVE ALREADY USED THESE IDEAS TO EXAMINE THE FRAMING OF THE SCIENTIFIC DISCOURSE BY REDUCTIONISTS
  • WE CAN GO FURTHER AND IF WE DO THE RESULTS ARE VERY STRIKING
lakoff uses these ideas to study american politics
LAKOFF USES THESE IDEAS TO STUDY AMERICAN POLITICS
  • HE FINDS THAT RADICAL CONSERVATIVES TEND TO RELY ONLY ON DIRECT CAUSALITY
  • ON THE OTHER HAND PROGRESSIVES TEND TO RELY ON SYSTEMIC CAUSALITY
  • HE TIES THIS IN WITH A MODEL OF THE COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR OF BOTH GROUPS
the family as a model for society
THE FAMILY AS A MODEL FOR SOCIETY
  • THE STRICT FATHER FAMILY IS THE MODEL FOR RADICAL CONSERVATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • THYE NURTURING MOTHER FAMILY IS THE MODEL FOR PROGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR
  • THE TWO MODELS RESULT IN VERY DIFFERENT WORLD VIEWS AND EVEN THE DEFINITION OF WORDS LIKE “FREEDOM” ARE VERY DIFFERENT IN THE TWO WORLDVIEWS
the consequences of lakoff s analysis are consistent with rosen s view of science
THE CONSEQUENCES OF LAKOFF’S ANALYSIS ARE CONSISTENT WITH ROSEN’S VIEW OF SCIENCE
  • REDUCTIONIST SCIENCE RELIES ON DIRECT CAUSALITY AS DOES RADICAL CONSERVATIVISM – THE TWO ARE ASPECTS OF A SINGLE WORLD VIEW
  • COMPLEXITY SCIENCE POSES A THREAT TO THIS WORLDVIEW AS DOES PROGRESSIVE THINKING IN POLITICS
this reveals a great deal about controversies involving science and religion
THIS REVEALS A GREAT DEAL ABOUT CONTROVERSIES INVOLVING SCIENCE AND RELIGION
  • ROSEN SHOWED THAT REDUCTIONIST/MECHANIST THINKING RESULTED IN THE NEED FOR A GOD (MACHINES NEED AN INTELLEGENT DESIGNER
  • COMPLEXITY THEORY SHOWS THAT ORGANISMS ARE DIFFERENT FROM MACHINES AND CLOSED TO EFFICIENT CAUSE (NO NEED FOR ANY OUTSIDE CAUSE)
problems with the use of direct causation reductionism
PROBLEMS WITH THE USE OF DIRECT CAUSATION (REDUCTIONISM)
  • INTELLEGENT DESIGN IS THE ONLY USE OF ANY IDEA FROM COMPLEXITY AND IT IS MISUSED (IRREDUCEABLE COMPLEXITY IMPLIES AN INTELLEGENT DESIGNER)
  • DIRECT CAUSATION HAS ALMOST NO USE IN EVOLUTIONARY THEORY
  • DIRECT CAUSATION HAS ALMOST NO USE IN CLIMATOLOGY
  • SYSTEMIC CAUSALITY IS DISMISSED BY PROPONENTS OD DIRECT CAUSALITY
  • REAL COMPLEX SYSTEMS REQUIRE SYSTEMIC CAUSATION AND CAN NOT BE EXPLAINED USING DIRECT CAUSATION UNLESS A DIETY OR SOME OTHER SUERNATURAL AGENT IS INVOKED
towards a holistic theory of complex human behavior
TOWARDS A HOLISTIC THEORY OF COMPLEX HUMAN BEHAVIOR
  • SUCH A THEORY HAS TO REFRAME THE QUESTION FRAMED BY REDUCTIONISTS IN TERMS OF DIRECT CAUSATION
  • IT MUST NOT PUT FORTH A SINGLE, LARGEST MODEL IF IT IS TO GO BEYOND THE MISTAKES SO DEEPLY ENTRENCHED BY REDUCTIONISM
  • IT MUST BE BUILT ON CONCEPTS LIKE SYSTEMIC CAUSALITY, SELF REFERENCE, CONTEXT DEPENDENCE, AND THE OTHER ASPECTS OF COMPLEXITY THEORY PRESENTED BY LAKOFF AND ROSEN
slide51
New Book: Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life by: Eric D. Schneider and Dorion Sagan, University of Chicago Press, 2005
  • THIS BOOK IS A GOOD INTRODUCTION TO HOW THERMODYNAMIC REASONING CAN BREAK OUT OF ITS REDUCTIONIST PRISON AND BEGIN TO BE USED IN THE STUDY OF COMPLEXITY SCIENCE
  • IT ALSO GIVES INSIGHTS INTO MY ROLE IN THIS