Date: February 2, 2008
Creator: Allegrini, Paolo; Giuntoli, Martina; Grigolini, Paolo & West, Bruce J.
Description: Paper discussing knowledge, knowability, and the search for objective randomness to a new vision of complexity. Abstract: Herein we consider various concepts of entropy as measure of the complexity of phenomena and in so doing encounter a fundamental problem in physics that affects how we understand the nature of reality. In essence the difficulty has to do with our understanding of randomness, irreversibility and unpredictability using physical theory, and these in turn undermine our certainty regarding what we can and what we cannot know about complex phenomena in general. The sources of complexity examined herein appear to be channels for the amplification of naturally occurring randomness in the physical world. Our analysis suggests that when the conditions for the renormalization group apply, this spontaneous randomness, which is not a reflection of our limited knowledge, but a genuine property of nature, does not realize the conventional thermodynamic state, and a new condition, intermediate between the dynamic and the thermodynamic state, emerges. We argue that with this vision of complexity, life, which with ordinary statistical mechanics seems to be foreign to physics, becomes a natural consequence of dynamical processes.
Contributing Partner: UNT College of Arts and Sciences