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Erdi - Complexity Explained - Chp4

# Erdi - Complexity Explained - Chp4

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08/30/2010

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4The Dynamic World View in Action
4.1 Causality, Teleology and About the Scope and Limitsof the Dynamical Paradigm
The dynamical system is a mathematical concept motivated ﬁrst by Newto-nian mechanics. The state of the system is generally denoted by a point inan appropriately deﬁned geometrical space. A dynamical system operates intime. Typically, we take the time set
to be the real line
R
(a continuous-timesystem) or the set of integers
Z
(a discrete-time system). We then formalizean
autonomous
system as a ordered pair (
Q,g
), where
Q
is the state space,and
g
:
×
Q
Q
is a function that assigns to each initial state
x
0
Q
the state
x
=
g
(
t,x
0
), in which the system will be after a time interval
t
if itstarted in state
x
0
. A fundamental property of
g
, then, is the validity of theidentity
g
(
t
+
s,x
0
)
g
(
s,g
(
t,x
0
)) (4.1)for all states
x
, and times
t
,
s
. Loosely speaking
g
is a ﬁxed rule which governsthe motion of the system.The behavior of a dynamic system may also depend on the time course of the input applied. Systems that take into account the eﬀect of input belongto the family of
non-autonomous
systems.Dynamical systems theory became a predominant paradigm, and material-ize the philosophical concept of
causality
by mathematical tools. This concepttells that causes imply eﬀects, consequently the present state determines thefuture. If the ﬁxed rule acting on the actual state is deterministic, there is only“one”future. In case of probabilistic rules, diﬀerent futures could be predictedwith certain probabilities.

110 4 The Dynamic World View in Action
For continuous time continuous state deterministic system the equation isgiven by˙
x
(
t
) =
(
x
(
t
)
,k
) +
(
t
);
x
(0) =
x
0
.
(4.2)It describes the temporal behavior of the system variable
x
driven by a“forcingfunction”
, inﬂuenced by the parameter
k
, starting from the initial condition
x
0
, taking into account that the system is subject of the time dependentexternal perturbation (
(
t
)) arriving from the environment. The evolution of the system depends on the additive eﬀect of the external perturbation andthe internal development.Robert Rosen, a controversial hero of theoretical biology and of complexsystems research suggested [439] that at least three of the four Aristoteliannotions of causality can be associated to mathematical objects in equation(4.2):Aristotelean categories mathematical objectsmaterial cause initial valuesformal cause parametersecient cause driving forcenal cause “The causality of natural processes may be interpreted as implying thatthe conditions in a body at time
t
are determined by the past history of thebody, and that no aspect of its future behavior need to be known in order todetermine all of them” – wrote Truesdell and Noll in 1965 in their rigorousencyclopedia on the nonlinear mechanics of continua.
4.1.1 Causal Versus Teleological Description
While diﬀerential equations (and dynamical systems) describe motions locally,for certain systems there is an equivalent, global description by using inte-gral principles for the
whole
motion. Speciﬁcally, a quantity is deﬁned, whichshould have an extreme (i.e., maximum or minimum) value for the
whole
mo-tion from the beginning to the end. The concept of
optimal processes
reachedphysics at least four hundred years ago.Pierre de Fermat (1601–1665), a French lawyer and mathematician (prob-ably more famous for the latter profession) posed and solved a well-deﬁnedphysical (speciﬁcally geometrical optical) problem by mathematical methods.

4.1 Causality and Teleology 111
How does a light ray move from an initial point to a given endpoint throughan optical medium, where the optical density may vary from point to point?There is a set of possible solutions, and Fermat’s“principle of least time”givesan answer. While there are inﬁnite number of possible trajectories which con-nect the two ﬁxed points, there is a selection criterion to choose one of them.The answer suggests that the
time
of the traveling (and nothing else, e.g
not
the geometrical
distance
between the two points) should be minimal.The “principle of least action” (most likely formulated by Pierre-LouisMoreau de Maupertuis (1698–1759)) is the mechanical analogue of Fermat’sprinciple. There is a mechanical quantity called“actionwhich should be min-imum for the path taken by a particle among the all possible trajectorieswhich are compatible with the conservation of the energy. Maupertuis prin-ciple is also an optimality principle. About a hundred years later Hamilton’sprinciple, the most eﬀective optimality principle in physics, has been formu-lated. The principle of William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865) states that formechanical systems there is a quantity, called the Lagrange function, and theintegral of this function will be stationary for the actual mechanical process.This function is deﬁned as the diﬀerence between the kinetic and potentialenergy,
L
:=
kin
pot
. According to the Hamilton’s principle:
δ

t
1
t
0
L
d
t
= 0
.
(4.3)The quantity

t
1
t
0
L
is the action integral. For the classical mechanical sys-tems the local and global (“teleological”) descriptions are equivalent. Themathematics behind the extremal principles of mechanics (and a few otherbranches of physics) is based on the mathematical disciplines called varia-tional calculus. The Lagrange function satisﬁes the equationdd
tL∂
˙
x
i
Lx
i
= 0
.
(4.4)For the harmonic oscillator
kin
:= 1
/
2
m
˙
x
2
and
pot
:= 1
/
2
k
˙
x
2
, and theaction integral is
= 1
/
2

τ
0
(
m
˙
x
2
kx
2
)d
t
, and
δJ
(
x
) = 0 is fulﬁlled when
m
¨
x
+
kx
= 0. This is exactly the Newton equation for the harmonic oscillator.The equation for the pendulum could be also rewritten in the form of Lagrange equation.The fact that many (but far from all) dynamical equations of natural pro-cess based on mechanisms localized to a single time point are mathematicallyequivalent to integral description referring to a time interval implies that for

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