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Publication type: Book part
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: Narrativity in complex systems
Authors: Fuchs, Hans U.
Corni, Federico
Dumont, Elisabeth
et. al: No
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-75297-2_3
Published in: Science | Environment | Health : Towards a Science Pedagogy of Complex Living Systems
Editors of the parent work: Zeyer, Albert
Kyburz-Graber, Regula
Pages: 31
Pages to: 50
Issue Date: 2021
Series: Contributions from Science Education Research
Series volume: 10
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Springer
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Cham
ISBN: 978-3-030-75296-5
Language: English
Subjects: Complexity; Dynamical systems; Narrative; Mechanisms; Modelling; Forces of nature
Subject (DDC): 370: Education
500: Natural sciences
Abstract: Humans use narrative for making sense of their environment. In this chapter we ask if, and if so how and to what extent, our narrative mind can help us deal scientifically with complexity. In order to answer this question, and to show what this means for education, we discuss fundamental aspects of narrative understanding of dynamical systems by working on a concrete story. These aspects involve perception of complex systems, experientiality of narrative, decomposition of systems into mechanisms, perception of forces of nature in mechanisms, and the relation of story-worlds to modelling-worlds, particularly in so-called ephemeral mechanisms. In parallel to describing fundamental issues, we develop a practical heuristic strategy for dealing with complex systems in five steps. (1) Systems thinking: Identify phenomena and foreground a system associated with these phenomena. (2) Mechanisms: Find and describe mechanisms responsible for these phenomena. (3) Forces of nature: Learn to perceive forces of nature as agents acting in these mechanisms. (4) Story-worlds and models: Learn how to use stories of forces (of nature) to construct story-worlds; translate the story-worlds into dynamical-model-worlds. (5) Ephemeral mechanisms for one-time, shortlived, unpredictable, and historical (natural) events: Learn how to create and accept ephemeral story-worlds and models. Ephemeral mechanisms and ephemeral story-worlds are a means for dealing with unpredictability inherent in complex dynamical systems. We argue that unpredictability does not fundamentally deny storytelling, modelling, explanation, and understanding of natural complex systems.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): CC BY 4.0: Attribution 4.0 International
Departement: School of Engineering
Organisational Unit: Institute of Applied Mathematics and Physics (IAMP)
Appears in collections:Publikationen School of Engineering

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