Lecture Liveblog: 11-27-07

Paper Stuff

Get as concrete as possible with a close reading and non-obvious insights.

Do not worry about justifying structuralism, phenomenology, etc. Use the concepts of the class as tools for critical analysis of your very specific phenomenon.

Design Questions

  • Does this help expose something that is hidden? A design insight.
  • Generation of design hypothesis. Prototype-able, testable claims.

Example papers to review are the Bardzell papers on Oncourse.

You do not have to be right/correct in your paper, just be sufficient, insightful and stick your neck out a bit. Shatter some paradigms.


Meme Theory, Complex Systems and Poststructuralism

Meme Theory

  • Gene’s are the unit of analysis. Everything we are and can be is based on genes.
  • Darwinism’s essential idea is the differential survival of replicators.
    • Replicators vary and fight for resources.
    • Some variations are more helpful than others and beat out other variations.
    • The most successful variations become the norm over time and new variations are born.
  • Cultural reproduction works the same way.
  • Meme’s are the unit of analysis.
    • Fashion
    • Architecture
    • Farming Methods
    • Ideas
    • etc ….
  • Culture produces more meme’s than we can sustain so they fight for resources.
  • Meme’s resource = people’s brain time
  • Author’s are survival machines for memes.

Complex Systems

  • A complicated system is an airplane. Most people don’t know how to work them, but there are very specialized engineers out there who can explain the details of the plane.
  • A complex system is mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is a combination of eggs and bacteria with processes that are not well defined or entirely understood.

Analytical Science ————– Complex Systems

Complicated ——————– Complex

Underlying rule systems (laws) ———- Interactions among agents with local rule systems

“Correct” solution —————— “Sufficient” solution

Stability, Closed —————— Dynamism, Open, Evolving, Self-organizing

Complex systems and meme theory reject humanism. Humans (the type you can poke) are not solely responsible for the complex processes associated with culture. Innovation, creativity, identity, etc. are not located between the ears. Instead, all of these things are constructed in real time via relationships.

Historicity is key for complex systems. Systems have clear histories. Poststructuralists discuss genealogy.

Systems are never fully understood by anybody. Local rules are identifiable, but never global rules. If it can be reduced to be understood, it’s no longer a complex system.


1 Comment

  1. mingxian

    Seriously, THANK YOU very much, Tyler!

    I don’t remember since when, I stopped taking notes, and just save and read yours instead. It leaves me much more time to think and concentrate on Jeff (what he says) on class. And it is much detailed than my notes.


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