2012-05-03

 

My Top 10 most influential theories and ideas

While grading papers a student asked me what were the top 10 papers in complex systems (since cybernetics) that most influenced me. I don't really have a top 10 list of papers (except for Weaver and Simon, perhaps). But I do have a top list of theories and ideas that I am always revisiting with different writings, and which constantly define and re-define my thinking (more or less in order of importance):
  • Darwin's Natural Selection 
  • Von Neumann/Turing's description/construction (or genotype/phenotype) distinction
  • Pattee's semiotic closure 
  • Clark and Chalmer's extended mind hypothesis 
  • General Systems (including Network Science)
  • Conrad's ideas on evolvability, high-dimensional bypass, and tradeoff principle 
  • Interplay between self-organization, selection, and stigmergy (as motivated by many people like Kauffman, Holland, Grasse, Reynolds, Crutchfield, Mitchell, etc.) 
  • Information Theory and Generalized Information Theory
  • Vertebrate Immunity (as studied by Segel, Cohen, Coutinho, Forrest, Carneiro, etc.) 
  • Enactivism: Autopoiesis (Varela and Maturana), Conversation Theory (Pask), and Embodied Cognition (Beer, Thelen and Smith)

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