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Constructing a General Theory of Life: The Dynamics of Human and Non-human Systems

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  • Graeme Donald Snooks

Abstract

The ultimate objective of theorists studying living systems is to construct a general theory of life that can explain and predict the dynamics of both human and nonhuman systems. Yet little progress has been made in this endeavour. Why? Because of the inappropriate methods adopted by complexity theorists. By assuming that the supply-side physics model – in which local interactions are said to give rise to the emergence of order and complexity – could be transferred either entirely (social physics) or partially (agent-based models, or ABMs) from the physical to the life sciences, we have distorted reality and, thereby, delayed the construction of a general dynamic theory of living systems. Is there a solution? Yes, but only if we abandon the deductive and analogical methods of complexity theorists and adopt the inductive method. With this approach it is possible to construct a realist and demand-side general dynamic theory, as in the case of the dynamic-strategy theory presented in this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Graeme Donald Snooks, 2009. "Constructing a General Theory of Life: The Dynamics of Human and Non-human Systems," GDSC Working Papers 008, Institute of Global Dynamic Systems.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:wpaper:008
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    1. Robert Axelrod, 1997. "Advancing the Art of Simulation in the Social Sciences," Working Papers 97-05-048, Santa Fe Institute.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    complex living systems; unified theory; general theory of life; dynamics. Demand-side; methodology;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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