Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System (MIT Press)

Juarrero, Dynamics in Action, Chapter 14
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Delivery not available. Pickup not available. Add to List. Add to Registry. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. Alicia Juarrero argues that a mistaken, year-old model ofcause and explanation--one that takes all causes to be of thepush-pull, efficient cause sort, and all explanation to beprooflike--underlies contemporary theories of action.

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Paul E. In Part 1, she reviews different perspectives on action to show their flawed foundations of cause and explanation. A Bradford Book. Satisfaction Guaranteed!. Instead of memorizing a set of moral principles, which the agent is then suppose to implement moral education would consist of a gradual shaping of character through feedback and habituation. The consequences of these problems are well-known.

However, "action theory"—the branch of philosophy that has traditionally articulated the boundaries between action and non-action, and between voluntary and involuntary behavior—has been unable to account for the difference. Alicia Juarrero argues that a mistaken, year-old model of cause and explanation—one that takes all causes to be of the push-pull, efficient cause sort, and all explanation to be prooflike—underlies contemporary theories of action. Juarrero then proposes a new framework for conceptualizing causes based on complex adaptive systems.

Thinking of causes as dynamical constraints makes bottom-up and top-down causal relations, including those involving intentional causes, suddenly tractable. A different logic for explaining actions—as historical narrative, not inference—follows if one adopts this novel approach to long-standing questions of action and responsibility. Juarrero's lively text skillfully applies the kinds of causal analyses required in non-equilibrium, complex systems theory to the problems of action theory.

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This fascinating book makes an important contribution to a central topic in the philosophy of mind. It is also a fine introduction to the 'new' philosophy of science, which has set aside outworn models from the Cartesian and Newtonian domination and taken its place in the front line of scientific debate, along with a biological vision of information and complex systems.

As Juarrero's excellent and comprehensive review of the literature shows, conceptual analyses of what constitutes the difference between a wink and a blink, a free action, and a mere movement, continue to be hampered by too disembodied a conception of freedom and too mechanistic a conception of nature.

Juarrero's pioneering use of complex systems dynamics and information theory breaks through this barrier, showing that conceptual analysis need not be a place where old scientific theories go to die when they cannot solve the problems that mean most to us. An extraordinary enlightening and liberating performance.

Ep. 6 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Aristotle, Kant, and Evolution

Attractors define specific behavioural patterns that actors in a system adopt. By structuring the system, attractors give the system an element of order. They alter the probability of the behaviour of the actors in the system. The behaviour of actors in an economy are defined by a multitude of attractors, building a dynamic landscape of evolving structures. This is often called path dependence — what is possible in the future depends on how we got to the present.

In practice, the concept of attractors can be used in a metaphorical way to describe dynamics in social systems. Attractors describe coherent sets of values and beliefs that encode specific behavioural norms and lead to behavioural patterns. They are formed through common use of stories, metaphors and practice.

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The participation in a social group that shares a set of common metaphors and practices makes people more likely to adopt certain behaviours and over time it will be difficult for individuals to change the disposition that an attractor creates. Different types of attractors have different characteristics. So-called single-point attractors are relatively low in complexity and are relatively stable.

They are built around one strong, dominant narrative that allows little ambiguity — they can be illustrated as a deep, narrow well in the attractor landscape.

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Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. Because of their unambiguous nature, change can often only occur radically by completely switching to a competing narrative. More common in human systems are so-called strange attractors that are often formed by the common use of metaphors or myths in a community with a common culture. They give a sense of overall direction and pattern with enough ambiguity to allow diversity and contextualised adaptation — they can be illustrated as relatively wide valley in an attractor landscape, constraining the behaviour by its flanks, but allowing for some diversity on the wide valley floor.

New attractors emerge when various enabling factors interlock to allow system actors to self-organise into a new set of interrelations and to adopt a new set of behavioural norms.

This new behaviour generally entails new capabilities not accessible to the people before. Attractors cannot be purposefully engineered. This can be done in the form of a portfolio of safe-to-fail experiments. The use of attractors in social change has been explored in conflict resolution and peace-building work as described by Coleman and colleagues. Stage 1 in Figure 1 shows an attractor landscape with two attractors.

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A dominant attractor with the yellow ball that shapes the behaviour of most people, and a latent attractor with the green ball. Taking an example from Local Economic Development, the dominant attractor shapes the view entrepreneurs from a nearby city have about a rural area. They think it is remote and difficult to access and not viable for business. Their opinion is formed based on their current business model, their logistics arrangements, infrastructure, by observing other businesses, etc.

Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System

All of these elements build the disposition of the current situation, embodied in the attractor. The latent attractor could be formed by a business who bucks the trend. It has designed its business model and arranged its operations in a way that make the rural area a viable place for business. In stage 2 of Figure 1, there are three dynamics that change the attractor landscape.

Firstly, the latent attractor gets stronger, i. This could be because the outlier company is successful in their business in the rural area. Secondly, the dominant attractor gets weaker. This could be due to a very competitive situation in the city where businesses that focus there start loosing business.

Thirdly, the ridge between the attractors becomes smaller, i. This could be for example because new infrastructure is built in the rural areas or because the outlier company which is a first mover has developed business models others can easily copy. In stage 3, the yellow ball has vanished and the latent attractor has now become dominant. The evolution of physical technology is an other example where the metaphor of attractors is useful.

The evolution is shaped by successive technological paradigms. These paradigms are embodied in dominant attractors that structure thought. The attractor influences both what perspectives are considered who is asked for ideas as well as the search heuristics applied.

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If in the selection criteria in the evolutionary process shift, a small innovation based on the thinking of a latent attractor can be selected and amplified throughout the system, this can lead to a tipping point and regime shift through which the latent attractor becomes the new dominant attractor and the technological paradigm shifts. This dynamic is often illustrated in subsequent technological S-curves Foster, From an institutional perspective two distinct institutional arrangements can be characterised as examples of distinct system dispositions.

On the one hand, there is an institutional regime that features policies that are designed to generate rents and protections that keep the dominant ruling coalition stable. On the other hand, there are institutional regimes that promote open access to political, economic, social and intellectual infrastructure Shirley, Development generally seeks to achieve a regime shift from the former to the latter.

Navigating the landscape of conflict: Applications of dynamical systems theory to addressing protracted conflict. DOSI, G. In Handbook of the Economics of Innovation.