By Michael Strevens

Many advanced systems--from immensely complex ecosystems to minute assemblages of molecules--surprise us with their easy habit. give some thought to, for example, the snowflake, within which quite a few water molecules organize themselves in styles with six-way symmetry. How is it that molecules relocating possible at random develop into equipped based on the easy, six-fold rule? How do the comings, goings, conferences, and eatings of person animals upload as much as the straightforward dynamics of atmosphere populations? extra often, how does complicated and probably capricious microbehavior generate reliable, predictable macrobehavior?

during this ebook, Michael Strevens goals to provide an explanation for how simplicity can coexist with, certainly be attributable to, the tangled interconnections among a fancy system's many elements. on the middle of Strevens's rationalization is the suggestion of likelihood and, extra quite, probabilistic independence. through analyzing the principles of statistical reasoning approximately advanced platforms comparable to gases, ecosystems, and sure social structures, Strevens offers an knowing of ways simplicity emerges from complexity. alongside the way in which, he attracts classes about the low-level rationalization of high-level phenomena and the foundation for introducing probabilistic options into actual idea.

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The aggregation stage removes the microlevel from the output as well, by moving from information about events involving individual enions to information about enion statistics, and thus to the macrolevel. The disappearance of microlevel information, then, can be explained as follows. In the microdynamic description, microlevel information determines microlevel outcomes. The move to enion probabilities produces a description in which macrolevel information determines the probability of microlevel outcomes.

I will have very little to say about this third stage of epa, with one exception: I note that at the third stage, it is still possible to eliminate small dependencies on microlevel information that, because of less than perfect satisfaction of the independence requirements imposed in stages one and two, have not been earlier excised. 6. 24 The Probabilistic Foundations of Enion Probability Analysis Using enion probability analysis, it is possible to derive the fact of simple behavior in a complex system.

This is the ergodic approach, which, like my approach, focuses on the physical properties of systems in virtue of which they Copyright © 2003 The President and Fellows of Harvard College41 26 1 Simple Behavior of Complex Systems behave in random-looking ways. Despite the similarity between the two approaches, I will contend that there are several deep differences that render the ergodic approach, unlike my own, unsuitable as an entry point to the study of the general application of epa. The remainder of this section is intended chieﬂy for the beneﬁt of readers who already have some knowledge of the ergodic approach; it is a justiﬁcation of my tabula rasa approach to understanding the foundations of epa.