By Richard H. Day, Theodore Groves
Read Online or Download Adaptive Economic Models. Proceedings of a Symposium Conducted by the Mathematics Research Center, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, October 21–23, 1974 PDF
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Extra resources for Adaptive Economic Models. Proceedings of a Symposium Conducted by the Mathematics Research Center, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, October 21–23, 1974
For they imply that, as a general rule, attempts to control a subsystem of a complex system will induce unpredictable changes in other subsystems ("side effects") one of the consequences of which is often a modification or loss of the very control it was intended to exert. These properties are at the root of the dialectical qualities of complex systems; in the long term they can cause the most drastic and calamitous effects, but in the short term, they play a most important role in adaptation; all the more important because it has been so conspicuously neglected in technical treatments of adaptive systems.
Clearly, if we can answer question (2) in a variety of different classes defining different interpretations of adaptation, we will be well along towards answering (3) in any given situation. But we cannot define these classes effectively without solving question (1). In what follows, therefore, we shall attempt to sketch how the general strategy we have outlined can be implemented, utilizing a spectrum of biological examples of adaptive behavior. These will fall into definite classes, in each of which the questions (1), (2), (3) above can be meaningfully posed, and whose solutions in each class become a technical matter.
Since we are accustomed to defining qualitative behavioral properties in terms of quantitative structural ones, we reach an impasse when the same kind of behavior arises out of unrelated structures. This indeed is one of the crucial problems with reductionism in biology and the behavioral sciences. 42 BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS One kind of strategy for dealing directly with functional concepts like "adaptation" which is proving effective is the following: Since adaptive properties are defined ostensively, in terms of a spectrum of examples, let us see if we can assign these various examples to a num- ber of classes, such that within each class, the behavior we regard as adaptive can be identified with a specific kind of structural property.