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Self-Modifying Systems in Biology and Cognitive Science, Volume 6: A New Framework for Dynamics, Information and Complexity (IFSR International Series on Systems Science and Engineering) 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0080369792
ISBN-10: 0080369790
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...a landmark contribution to the theory of evolutionary systems...essential reading
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Product Details

  • Series: IFSR International Series on Systems Science and Engineering (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 543 pages
  • Publisher: Pergamon; 1 edition (May 14, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0080369790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0080369792
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,858,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By T. Gwinn on October 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As another reviewer notes, this book will be very helpful to those interested in the complexity research of theoretical biologist Robert Rosen. Whereas Rosen has a tight, highly rigorous focus on his goal in "Life Itself", Kampis paints on a somewhat broader canvas, referencing the work of many other researchers (including Rosen). However, Kampis is similarly detailed and methodical.
Kampis first describes the limits of dynamical models, and state-based approaches, including the limitations inherent in the 'canonical formalism' of mechanics.
He then goes on to introduce 'component-systems'. This is a general formal representation of a system as being composed of some number of components out of an essentially unlimited number of possible components. In component systems, the "rules" for the dynamics of the system are not independent of the components themselves. Self-modifying component systems generate new components and delete others, thereby changing the identity of the system itself. In mathematical terms, a self-modifying system is like a function f that belongs to its own domain and range ("f:f-->f"). The result is that such systems are non-algorithmic, nor are their dynamics describable in a state-based formalism (e.g., Newtonian, Hamiltonian, etc.). This has notable consequences for approaches that attempt to treat such systems as algorithmic, or via modelling their state-based dynamics. By comparison to component systems, cellular automata and similar algorithmic formal systems are entirely trivial.
Kampis devotes many chapters to what I have cursorily mentioned, and there is much, much more in this book that is worth reading. Although there is not alot of math, what is there is important to understand.
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Format: Hardcover
The theme that Kampis examines in Self-Modifying Systems is the self-generation of information by the nontrivial change (self-modification) of systems. Such a system is a network of many components, which have the property of being able to transform each other and organising themselves into larger components. It is this feature that makes such component systems closed to efficient cause. Component-systems, then, are not algorithmic, but this is not a reversible equation in that component-systems can, Kampis argues, give rise, in fact, to any particular algorithm. Kampis describes the difference as that between known complexity, that is to say complexity-to-be-realised, and unknown complexity, or complexity-to-be-explained. The first of these is relatively easy to realise, the second being impossible in that "a complex operation operating on components and bringing forth yet unknown and unidentified components cannot be described as an algorithm" (Kampis 1991:239).

Component-systems, therefore, have a high degree of creativity, but they also have characteristics that avoid many of the problems that other forms of nonlinear models.Kampis argues that nothing that such a process gives rise to can be predicted before hand, and no identity can be traced back to an origin. From this, Kampis states that the creation thesis emerges. This thesis can be stated in the following way:

The organisation of the world is continually self-creating; this process is at any given stage incomplete. Information about the future is not only inaccessible but does not exist in any form. Creation is a basic and general phenomenon that cannot be explained logically. (Kampis 1991: 258).

Self-creation occurs in the form of self-modification.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
George Kampis follows in the ground breaking tradition of Robert Rosen. Examines the notions of reproduction and construction. His scope is wide and through. A must read for anybody interested in Rosen complexity.
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