




Bigger than Chaos: Understanding Complexity through Probability
Harvard University Press, 2003 Paper: 9780674022591  eISBN: 9780674044067  Cloth: 9780674010420 Library of Congress Classification QC174.85.P76S77 2003 Dewey Decimal Classification 003
ABOUT THIS BOOK  TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Many complex systemsfrom immensely complicated ecosystems to minute assemblages of moleculessurprise us with their simple behavior. Consider, for instance, the snowflake, in which a great number of water molecules arrange themselves in patterns with sixway symmetry. How is it that molecules moving seemingly at random become organized according to the simple, sixfold rule? How do the comings, goings, meetings, and eatings of individual animals add up to the simple dynamics of ecosystem populations? More generally, how does complex and seemingly capricious microbehavior generate stable, predictable macrobehavior? In this book, Michael Strevens aims to explain how simplicity can coexist with, indeed be caused by, the tangled interconnections between a complex system's many parts. At the center of Strevens's explanation is the notion of probability and, more particularly, probabilistic independence. By examining the foundations of statistical reasoning about complex systems such as gases, ecosystems, and certain social systems, Strevens provides an understanding of how simplicity emerges from complexity. Along the way, he draws lessons concerning the lowlevel explanation of highlevel phenomena and the basis for introducing probabilistic concepts into physical theory. See other books on: Chaotic Behavior in Systems  Philosophy  Probabilities  Science  Strevens, Michael See other titles from Harvard University Press 
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