Requirements for Written Discursive Challenges including Assigned Readings

The ideas subsumed in computation and complexity are difficult to describe in natural language. We often have to invent new words and phrases to convey behaviors that arise spontaneously in simulations. How do we talk about new things we couldn't talk about before? This has always been a source of confusion between the sciences and the humanities. Words have different meanings to different people. The readings should provide you with an introduction to the written literature in the field.


Being able to move fluidly between the languages of computation and those of natural discourse is a defining exercise in intermediation. With practice, you should be able to transcend many of the perceived differences between the humanities and the sciences.


Try to put yourself into the mind of the author. What non-verbal experience is she trying to convey? What is the larger background and context to what she writes? What are her assumptions and expectations? How does she use language and other media to get her points across? It what ways is her use of language both metaphorical and not-metaphorical? Adopt the role of the method actor and apply your new insights to new arguments this person might make in a discussion with the authors of the other assigned readings or topics relevant to the course.


Always begin your criticism from a thoroughly informed perspective, a perspective that is situated somewhere within the practice complex systems. What makes sense and what does not? How do his arguments and his exposition relate to your own understandings of the material and to others who are involved with complexity, computation and human cultural systems?


What are the implications of the ideas being discussed when they are considered in comparison and contrast to the ideas of other practitioners in the field? Your discussion should follow the arguments presented in the readings to new implications or conclusions that were not considered by the authors. In other words, I am looking for the ideas that emerge in your mind as a result of your consideration of the authors works. Where are the ideas in the readings headed? How might they change society and culture? How might they change our understandings of ourselves, our pasts, our futures, and our ongoing coadaptation with complexity?