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The Why of ThingsCausality in Science, Medicine, and Life$
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Peter Rabins

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164726

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164726.001.0001

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A Third Model of Causality

A Third Model of Causality

The Emergent, Nonlinear Approach

(p.63) 5 A Third Model of Causality
The Why of Things

Peter V. Rabins

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes the emergent model of causality, which takes into account phenomena that seem to combine aspects of the categorical model and the probabilistic model. It first considers MIT professor Norbert Wiener's development of a new approach to the study of systems, which he calls cybernetics. Inherent in Wiener's proposal was the idea that the sum of the parts of a system is greater than their individual contributions. His emphasis on studying systems from the point of view of integrated and interrelated wholes rather than as a conglomerate of standalone, self-contained units contains within it the concept of emergence. These concepts of systems, nonlinearity, and emergence and their relevance to causality are discussed. In particular, the chapter examines chaos theory, nonlinear dynamics, biological and non-biological systems, self-organization, and network theory.

Keywords:   emergent model, causality, Norbert Wiener, cybernetics, emergence, nonlinearity, chaos theory, nonlinear dynamics, self-organization, network theory

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