Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

Tim Burke's picture


Just to further distract: why be so sure that it's futile and impossible thing for the beavers to make a dam, e.g., for humans to reshape their local environments so that they are amenable to more linear understandings of intentionality?

I'm quite clear that this is a bad thing for the same reason that I'm clear that monocultures are bad (bad pragmatically because they are risky cul-de-sacs and bad philosophically & aesthetically because they prevent the emergence of novelty, innovation, surprise, and so on). But is it impossible?

Or to push it even further, impossible for what reason? It's one thing to say it's impossible because however much an organism reshapes local environments to its liking, there are other levels of environmental complexity both "above" and "below" that local which will eventually unsettle or destroy that management. It's another thing to say that from within a given attempt to remake the world so that it's compliant with linear, non-emergent views of agency will spontaneously arise new emergent forms because that's the way all systems inevitably are (e.g., that there are no linear or non-emergent interactions over time).


The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
1 + 11 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.