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Network Representation and Complex Systems

Charles, Rathkopf (2015) Network Representation and Complex Systems. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In this article, network science is discussed from a methodological per- spective, and two central theses are defended. The first is that network science exploits the very properties that make a system complex. Rather than using idealization techniques to strip those properties away, as is standard practice in other areas of science, network science brings them to the fore, and uses them to furnish new forms of explanation. The second thesis is that network representations are particularly helpful in explaining the properties of non-decomposable systems. Where part-whole decomposition is not possible, network science provides a much-needed alternative method of compressing information about the behavior of complex systems, and does so without succumbing to problems associated with combinatorial explosion. The article concludes with a comparison between the uses of network representation analyzed in the main discussion, and an entirely distinct use of network representation that has recently been discussed in connection with mechanistic modeling.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Charles, Rathkopfcharles.rathkopf@gmail.com0000-0001-8998-2220
Keywords: complex systems, explanation, networks, mechanistic models, non-decomposability
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Dr. Charles Rathkopf
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2017 14:49
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2017 14:49
Item ID: 13394
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s11229-015-0726-0
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: April 2015
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13394

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