Epistemological Implications

20. Introduction to Chaos Theory

  • Sensitive dependence on initial conditions (a small change in the initial conditions can drastically change the long-term behavior of a system).
    • In a complex system, there is never the same context twice.
    • That which appears to be small scale disorder is often actually large scale patterning.
    • Systems that appear chaotic, but aren't, produce self-similarities, exact copies of parts of themselves, hidden deep inside their chaotic appearances.
      • Chaotic systems feature moments/aspects of order that surround areas of attraction
    • Small variation events often cascade into large scale patterns of change.
      • Chaotic systems often bifurcate when a variable changes.
    • Scale is relative to point of view: a wider view will often show patterns which look random up close.

Article for Concept Application Note:

"They Really Don’t Make Music Like They Used To"

Want to learn more?

Butterfly - The Secret Life of Chaos - BBC 4 Preview

Chaos Theory

An Introduction to Chaos Theory with the Lorenz Attractor