August 03, 2003

I Don't Know You People

There was a point in graduate school where I was casting about for a dissertation topic, and seriously considered collective effects in low-dimensional magnetism. If I had only chosen that, instead of self-organization in cellular automata, then I would not have to know about things like the International Conference on Complexity, Ethics and Creativity. This in turn would mean that people who write things like

We may have lost the certainties of earlier epochs but, as Foucault has pointed out, the deconstruction of the apriori subject of metaphysics does not entail the loss of an a posteriori subject of practical action. The question is, what is the nature of this a posteriori subject and can we formulate a practical apriori for ethical praxis? One formulation might be the following: the production of non-pathological, self-organising inter-systemic domains assuring a maximum of social cohesion compatible with the most extensive political and economic freedom open to all. [Double emphasis in the original]
would not present themselves to the world as part of my field. (This is the kind of thing which drives people who are in my field to joke about being more comfortable saying they study complicated systems.) Of course, if I had done low-dimensional magnetism, I would now be dead of boredom, but there are days when that seems like a good deal. [Via Kris]

Complexity ; Learned Folly

Posted at August 03, 2003 22:15 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth