Complexity and Sustainability

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Routledge, 2012 - Business & Economics - 350 pages
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Complex dynamic system studies have been studied explicitly in the natural sciences, and most only implicitly throughout other fields. Yet much great social theory and philosophy is in fact based in complexity, and important concepts like postmodernism, risk, and collapse all stem from complexity. Six key terms are explored: nonlinearity, feedbacks, thresholds, hierarchies, emergence and self-organization, and dozens of related principles are discussed, with a focus on uncertainty, risk, vulnerability, learning, strategy, resilience, collapse and sustainability. The book surveys the role of these complexity principles in the natural sciences, social theory, transdisciplinary discourse, philosophy, and ethics, and shows how this complexity framework is a valuable lens for approaching the spectre of climate change and life in the Anthropocene.

 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Elucidating complexity theories
19
3 Complexity in the natural sciences
52
4 Complexity in social theory
90
5 Towards transdisciplinarity
122
complexification and the limits to knowledge
154
7 Complexity in ethics
183
8 Earth in the Anthropocene
212
9 Complexity and climate change
232
10 American dreams ecological nightmares and new visions
267
wicked problems Gordian knots and synergistic solutions
284
12 Conclusion
307
Notes
310
Bibliography
328
Index
338
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About the author (2012)

Jennifer Wells is Assistant Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, USA

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