Thursday, June 7, 2012

Class lecture 6/5 - Systems Theory, etc.

Tuesday's class lecture covered systems theory, the emergence of knowledge, chaos theory, and a few other topics. A system is generally defined as a whole composed of interdependent parts. The common phrase "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" exists because in addition to the parts themselves, the whole contains structure, interactions, and relationships between the parts. We also discussed the idea of emergence with regards to knowledge. People's knowledge in the information age has emerged from teaching themselves, as opposed to being taught. The same can be applied to governing - we govern ourselves. Additionally, we create ourselves by creating a boundary to keep out the environment.

We also discussed the butterfly effect, which I thought was the most interesting aspect of chaos theory. It suggests that the smallest actions can have huge influence on other seemingly random occurrences in the world, such as a butterfly flapping its wings in China causing a hurricane in the Caribbean.

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