Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 8, Iss. 1, January, 2004, pp. 17-40
@2004 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


The Problematisation of Existence: Towards a Philosophy of Complexity

Kurt Richardson, Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence

Abstract: By assuming that the Universe is best described as a cellular automaton, and by making use of results from the field of computational mechanics, this paper discusses an extension of the notion of existence from a simple binary opposition to that of a continuum. It is argued that none of the traditional objects of science, or any objects from any discipline, formal or not, can be said to be real in any absolute sense though a substantial realism may be associated with them. By problematising existence it is proposed that an evolutionary philosophy referred to as critical pluralism is more sensitive to the demands of complexity than contemporary scientific approaches. Though many of the conclusions reported herein are not original, the fact that they can be ”proved” in a scientific sense, and explored scientifically, is certainly of interest and is an interpretation of complexity theory that has received little attention.

Keywords: complexity theory, philosophy, pluralism, cellular automata, computational mechanics