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HierarchyPerspectives for Ecological Complexity$
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T. F. H. Allen and Thomas B. Starr

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226489544

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226489711.001.0001

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Scale as an Investigative Tool

Scale as an Investigative Tool

Chapter:
(p.301) Chapter Twelve Scale as an Investigative Tool
Source:
Hierarchy
Author(s):

T.F.H. Allen

Thomas B. Starr

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226489711.003.0013

The diversity of life forms depends on the existence of the eukaryotic cell. Eukaryotes overcome scaling conflicts where increased size separates the working structural parts from genetic instructions that lets them play their role. For engineers emergence means collapse and negative, unfortunate outcomes. Accordingly engineers overbuild. In ecological systems complexity is a way around emergence in that it expects radical change and works to incorporate it as a normal happening. Biological and ecological systems work with varying contexts that change inertial frames. The chapter presents a protocol for using scale. Three alternatives are: 1. use an easily applied scale; use an elaborate exact scale. 2. change the scale; change the point of view. 3. focus on the form of the scale used; focus on what appears using the scale. It appears that society is at its scaling limits, about to be overcome. Complexity in both the situation and in the response causes social problem solving itself to cease to work. Issues of scale and complexity appear to underlie the disenchantment in the First World. It may take us down as it did the Romans.

Keywords:   collapse, economics, endosymbiosis, engineering, inertial frames, interference patterns, point of view, positive feedback, scale, society

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