Citations related to CONSTRAINTS (works cited listed at bottom):
“By being unresponsive, higher levels constrain and thereby impose general
limits on the behavior of small-scale entities. Constraint is therefore
achieved not by upper levels actively doing anything but rather by them
doing nothing.” Allen, T.F.H. & Valerie Ahl. Hierarchy Theory: A Vision,
Vocabulary, and Epistemology. Columbia University Press. 1996. P. 103.
“In non-nested systems the general ordering principles can be seen in
terms of four characteristics of upper levels relative to lower levels.
Upper-level entities 1) behave at relatively low frequencies, 2) behave
with less integrity, 3) offer context, and therefore 4) constrain lower
entities.” Allen, T.F.H. & Valerie Ahl. Hierarchy Theory: A Vision,
Vocabulary, and Epistemology. Columbia University Press. 1996. P. 107.
“Surfaces will spontaneously form when there is a significant gradient in
concentrations of information, energy, or matter. Surfaces amount to local
places across which there are significant differences.... Nature appears
to abhor a gradient and often will do what it must to localize gradients
at surfaces. The steeper the gradient, the more likely it is that a
surface will emerge.” Allen, T.F.H. & Valerie Ahl. Hierarchy Theory: A
Vision, Vocabulary, and Epistemology. Columbia University Press. 1996. Pps.
“Enzymes are the means whereby biochemical reactions are completed before
ordinary organic chemical reactions can have an effect. In this way,
enzymes separate the living from the dead not by spatially interposing
themselves as a physical surface but by having the same temporal
properties as a physical surface.” Allen, T.F.H. & Valerie Ahl. Hierarchy
Theory: A Vision, Vocabulary, and Epistemology. Columbia University Press.
1996. P. 150.
“The limitation coming from parts below is subtly different from
constraint coming from levels above. The parts indicate what is possible,
given the stuff of which the system is made. Constraints, on the other
hand, impose order on the possibilities that come from below. These
limitations define what the structure of the whole allows the parts to
do.” Allen, T.F.H. & Valerie Ahl. Hierarchy Theory: A Vision, Vocabulary,
and Epistemology. Columbia University Press. 1996. P. 163.
“The science which we defined as ‘classical’ wanted to create a grand
dichotomy around the pair necessary/not necessary, and to consider it as
fundamentally isomorphic to the dichotomy existent/non-existent. The
possible (and not necessary) hence appeared relegated to a twilight zone
of indeterminacy. Its very existence depended perhaps on limitations
within our modalities of understanding, which could be eliminated once one
could find (or imagined one could find) a ‘more suitable’ vantage point.
It is the explosion of this area of the possible which characterizes the
multiple developments of contemporary science. Today it is the pair
possible/not possible which reformulates the classical problems of
necessity, and this dichotomy is not at all identifiable with the pair
existent/non-existent. As we shall see later, this transition in the
interpretation of scientific law clearly expresses the meaning of these
epistemological shifts. We can indeed talk about a transition from a
notion of prescriptive requisite law to an idea of law understood as the
expression of a constraint.” Ceruti, Mauro. Constraints and Possibilities:
The Evolution of Knowledge and the Knowledge of Evolution. Gordon and
Breach Science Publishers. 1994. Translated by Alfonso Montuori. P. 23.
“1st postulate: Every assimilatory scheme tends to incorporate external
elements that are compatible with it.
“2nd postulate: Every assimilatory scheme has to accommodate to the
elements it assimilates, but the changes made to adapt it to an object’s
peculiarities must be effected without the loss of its continuity (and
therefore its closure as a cycle of interdependent processes), or its
former power of assimilation.” Piaget, Jean. L’equilibration des
structures cognitives. Probleme central du developpement. P.U.F. 1975. P.
6. Quoted in Ceruti, Mauro. Constraints and Possibilities: The Evolution
of Knowledge and the Knowledge of Evolution. Gordon and Breach Science
Publishers. 1994. Translated by Alfonso Montuori. P. 57.
“... the organism is shown to be, like a machine, a system which works
according to two different principles: its structure serves as a boundary
condition harnessing the physical-chemical processes by which its organs
perform their functions. Thus, this system may be called a system under
dual control. Morphogenesis, the process by which the structure of living
beings develops, can then be likened to the shaping of a machine which
will act as a boundary for the laws of inanimate nature.” Polanyi,
Michael. 1968. “Life’s Irreducible Structure.” Science, New Series, 160
(3834). June 21, 1968. Pps. 1308-1312. P. 1308.
“A boundary condition is always extraneous to the process which it
delimits. In Galileo’s experiments on balls rolling down a slope, the
angle of the slope was not derived from the laws of mechanics, but was
chosen by Galileo. And as this choice of slopes was extraneous to the laws
of mechanics, so is the shape and manufacture of test tubes extraneous to
the laws of chemistry.”
“The same thing holds for machine-like boundaries; their structure cannot
be defined in terms of the laws which they harness. Nor can a vocabulary
determine the content of a text, and so on. Therefore, if the structure of
living things is a set of boundary conditions, this structure is
extraneous to the laws of physics and chemistry which the organism is
harnessing. Thus the morphology of living things transcends the laws of
physics and chemistry.” Polanyi, Michael. 1968. “Life’s Irreducible
Structure.” Science, New Series, 160 (3834). June 21, 1968. Pps.
1308-1312. P. 1309.
“But there remains a fundamental point to be considered. A printed page
may be a mere jumble of words, and it has then no information content. So
the improbability count gives the possible, rather than the actual,
information content of a page.” Polanyi, Michael. 1968. “Life’s
Irreducible Structure.” Science, New Series, 160 (3834). June 21, 1968.
Pps. 1308-1312. P. 1309.
“The theory of boundary conditions recognizes the higher levels of life as
forming a hierarchy, each level of which relies for its workings on the
principles of the levels below it, even while it itself is irreducible to
these lower principles.” Polanyi, Michael. 1968. “Life’s Irreducible
Structure.” Science, New Series, 160 (3834). June 21, 1968. Pps.
1308-1312. P. 1309.
“I have mentioned how a hierarchy controlled by a series of boundary
principles should be studied. When examining any higher level, we must
remain subsidiarily aware of its grounds in lower levels and, turning our
attention to the latter, we must continue to see them as bearing on the
levels above them. Such alternation of detailing and integrating
admittedly leaves open many dangers. Detailing may lead to pedantic
excesses, while too-broad integrations may present us with a meandering
impressionism. But the principle of stratified relations does offer at
least a rational framework for an inquiry into living things and the
products of human thought.”
“I have said that the analytic descent from higher levels to their
subsidiaries is usually feasible to some degree, while the integration of
items of a lower level so as to predict their possible meaning in a higher
context may be beyond the range of our integrative powers. I may add now
that the same things may be seen to have a joint meaning when viewed from
one point, but to lack this connection when seen from another point. From
an airplane we can see the traces of prehistoric sites which, over the
centuries, have been unnoticed by people walking over them; indeed, once
he has landed, the pilot himself may no longer see these traces.”
“The relation of mind to body has a similar structure. The mind-body
problem arises from the disparity between the experience of a person
observing an external object - for example, a cat - and a
neurophysiologist observing the bodily mechanism by means of which the
person sees the cat. The difference arises from the fact that the person
observing the cat has a from-knowledge of the bodily responses evoked by
the light in his sensory organs, and this from-knowledge integrates the
joint meaning of these responses to form the sight of the cat, whereas the
neurophysiologist, looking at these responses from outside, has only an
at-knowledge of them, which, as such, is not integrated to form the sight
of the cat.” Polanyi, Michael. 1968. “Life’s Irreducible Structure.”
Science, New Series, 160 (3834). June 21, 1968. Pps. 1308-1312. P. 1312.
“Mechanisms, whether man-made or morphological, are boundary conditions
harnessing the laws of inanimate nature, being themselves irreducible to
those laws. The pattern of organic bases in DNA which functions as a
genetic code is a boundary condition irreducible to physics and chemistry.
Further controlling principles of life may be represented as a hierarchy
of boundary conditions extending, in the case of man, to consciousness and
responsibility.” Polanyi, Michael. 1968. “Life’s Irreducible Structure.”
Science, New Series, 160 (3834). June 21, 1968. Pps. 1308-1312. P. 1312.
“Boundary conditions may be simple, as a limit to the values of one
variable, or a complex relation between many variables. Complex boundary
conditions are usually called constraints, and complex constraints are
often recognized as machines. All complex constraints have evolved
gradually, including memory. Memory structures must also be considered as
constraints in physical jargon, but what are the physical characteristics
of those constraints required for memory structures?”
“First, memory requires alternative structures that are more or less
equiprobable physical states. Since the probability of physical states is
based on energy, a memory must have many states with the same energy. This
is called energy degeneracy. A high degeneracy is required for large
information capacity. It is this independence from energy that allows both
variation in memory states and an external selection process that is
outside the physical law description.” Pattee, H. H. “The Physics of
Symbols and The Evolution of Semiotic Controls.” 1997. Paper published in
Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity. Proceedings
Volume. Addison-Wesley. P. 11.
“It is somewhat easier to specify the requirements for a classical
physical description of constraints that can perform incoherent symbol
manipulation. Such an incoherent constraint must allow a change in its
configuration that cannot be derived from integrating the equations of
motion. Such nonintegrable (nonholonomic)constraints can be very simple;
all that is needed mechanically is a solid structure with a degenerate
degree of freedom or a ‘freely’ moving part. This includes almost all
mechanical devices from the simple hinge on up.” Pattee, H. H. “The
Physics of Symbols and The Evolution of Semiotic Controls.” 1997. Paper
published in Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity.
Proceedings Volume. Addison-Wesley. P. 11.
“The domain of results of most physical measurements are scalar, real
numbers. These numbers serve as inputs to crisp semiotic computations.
This is not the case in most biological control systems where simple
measurement is replaced by complex pattern recognition that does not have
symbolic results but that constrains metabolic pathways or neural
networks.” Pattee, H. H. “The Physics of Symbols and The Evolution of
Semiotic Controls.” 1997. Paper published in Santa Fe Institute Studies in
the Sciences of Complexity. Proceedings Volume. Addison-Wesley. P. 12.
“Biological controls do not depend on measurement of simple observables
but utilize complex pattern recognition based on coherent dynamic
interactions, as in folding, template fit, catalysis, self-assembly, and
network controls.” Pattee, H. H. “The Physics of Symbols and The Evolution
of Semiotic Controls.” 1997. Paper published in Santa Fe Institute Studies
in the Sciences of Complexity. Proceedings Volume. Addison-Wesley. P. 14.
“Popper’s view of scientific progress as a cumulative selection process
throws interesting new light on science and its achievements. First, in
the same way that biological evolution depends on the existence of blind
variation in the structure and behavior of organisms, science depends on
similar blind variation in hypotheses that are proposed. This does not
mean that the hypotheses are not constrained by the knowledge already
achieved. No respectable scientist is going to propose that the core of
the earth is made up of strawberry jam or the moon’s surface is Swiss
cheese. And no whale is likely to give birth to a horse. In both
biological evolution and science, such constraints reflect the past
accumulation of knowledge by prior blind variation and selection and are
essential in narrowing down the types of future variations that appear.
But the constraints alone cannot account for the emergence of new and
better fits of organism to the environment, and scientific theory to the
universe.” Cziko, Gary. 1995. Without Miracles: Universal Selection Theory
and the Second Darwinian Revolution. MIT Press. P. 171.
“Connectivity appears early in ontogeny as the most fundamental relation
among embryonic cells. Later, a cascade of differentiations and secondary
inductions takes place, starting to shape tissues and organs. Proportions
and orientations along the three spatial axes of the embryo take over,
giving rise to a new level of connections, this time between tissues.
Articulations, which allow movement among elements such as in hard
skeletal parts, appear much later, and can be said to be a by-product of
connections.” Rasskin-Gutman, Diego. “Boundary Constraints for the
Emergence of Form.” Origination of Organismal Form: Beyond the Gene in
Developmental and Evolutionary Biology. 2003. Pps. 305-322. Edited by Gerd
Müller & Stuart Newman. MIT Press. Pps. 307-8.
“These four levels of morphological organization constrain each other
during development. Shape constrains packing, which constrains
connectivity, which provokes inductions, which generates new elements that
exhibit shape and connection properties, and so on. There is no hierarchy
among these levels, but rather a nested succession of events in which one
property level originates structures that are then subjected to the
influence of another property level.” Rasskin-Gutman, Diego. 2003.
“Boundary Constraints for the Emergence of Form.” Pps. 305-322.
Origination of Organismal Form: Beyond the Gene in Developmental and
Evolutionary Biology. Edited by Gerd Müller & Stuart Newman. MIT Press. P.
“Boundaries originate automatically when an entity takes shape and, more
important for the central theme of this chapter, when two or more entities
make contact and form a new one at a higher level of organization. Thus
atoms form molecules by establishing covalent bonds; layers of
heterogeneous tissues arise out of the same precursor tissue; bones follow
an arrangement that makes them part of a network of connections, which, as
we have seen, can be identified as a lever system. The common phenomenon
in all these cases is the emergence of a new compound out of simpler
elements. In the case of a molecule such as water, new physical properties
arise out of this association that were not present in the isolated atoms
of hydrogen and oxygen. The same can be said of organismal units. Cells of
mesenchymal tissue must be in contact during secondary induction processes
in order to generate new, differentiated tissues, such as epidermal
glands. Cells that are adjacent can communicate via membrane gap junctions
or by morphogens that elicit specific gene expression patterns. As a
result, one cell can induce its neighbors to follow a path of
differentiation that, separately, they would never have taken.”
Rasskin-Gutman, Diego. 2003. “Boundary Constraints for the Emergence of
Form.” Pps. 305-322. Origination of Organismal Form: Beyond the Gene in
Developmental and Evolutionary Biology. Edited by Gerd Müller & Stuart
Newman. MIT Press. Pps. 309-10.
"Andean cultures did make tools, of course. But rather than making them
out of steel, they preferred fiber. The choice is less odd than it may
seem. Mechanical engineering depends on two main forces: compression and
tension. Both are employed in European technology, but the former is more
common--the arch is a classic example of compression. By contrast, tension
was the Inka way. 'Textiles are held together by tension,' William
Conklin, a research associate at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.,
told me. 'And they exploited that tension with amazing inventiveness and
"In the technosphere of the Andes, Lechtman explained, 'people solved
basic engineering problems through the manipulation of fibers,' not by
creating and joining hard wooden or metal objects. To make boats, Andean
cultures wove together reeds rather than cutting up trees into planks and
nailing them together. Although smaller than big European ships, these
vessels were not puddle-muddlers; Europeans first encountered Tawantinsuyu
in the form of an Inka ship sailing near the equator, three hundred miles
from its home port, under a load of fine cotton sails. It had a crew of
twenty and was easily the size of a Spanish caravelle. Famously, the Inka
used foot-thick cables to make suspension bridges across mountain gorges.
Because Europe had no bridges without supports below, they initially
terrified Pizarro's men. Later one conquistador reassured his countrymen
that they could walk across these Inka inventions 'without endangering
"Andean textiles were woven with great precision--elite garments could
have a thread count of five hundred per inch--and structured in elaborate
layers. Soldiers wore armor made from sculpted, quilted cloth that was
almost as effective at shielding the body as European armor and much
lighter. After trying it, the conquistadors ditched their steel
breastplates and helmets wholesale and dressed like Inka infantry when
"Although Andean troops carried bows, javelins, maces, and clubs, their
most fearsome weapon, the sling, was made of cloth. A sling is a woven
pouch attached to two strings. The slinger puts a stone or slug in the
pouch, picks up the strings by the free ends, spins them around a few
times, and releases one of the strings at the proper moment. Expert users
could hurl a stone, the Spanish adventurer Alonso Enriquez de Guzman
wrote, 'with such force that it will kill a horse.... I have seen a stone,
thus hurled from a sling, break a sword in two pieces when it was held in
a man's hand at a distance of thirty paces.'" Mann, Charles. 1491: New
Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. 2005. Alfred Knopf. Pp. 83-4.
"An irreversible process can be understood as a series of internal
constraints removed one by one until a system comes to equilibrium."
Schneider, Eric & and Dorion Sagan. Into the Cool: Energy Flow,
Thermodynamics, and Life. 2005. University of Chicago Press. P. 74.
"Energy flows; matter cycles. Morowitz, Harold. 1997. The Kindly Dr.
Guillotin, and Other Essays on Science and Life. Counterpoint. P. 121.
Quoted in Schneider, Eric & and Dorion Sagan. 2005. Into the Cool: Energy
Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life. University of Chicago Press. P. 85.
“We can return
now, with a more explicit position, to the problem of the given and the
made. The givens or preconstructed meanings that we interpret and
reinterpret in words comprise material of several different kinds:
structured, nonverbal meanings coded in practice or action; previous
verbal formulations that may be used in reformulations; and all those
unconsidered, undeveloped, or potential meanings that are implicit to
previous verbal formulations–the interpretations that could have been
made, but were disregarded. None of these givens spontaneously appear in
conscious experience, as they do if they are conceived to represent the
return of the repressed, but they all do serve as constraints on conscious
reflection. The more structured an unconscious meaning is, the greater the
role it plays in the partnership between itself and words. That is, the
more structured the unconscious meaning, the greater the constraint it
exercises on the meanings that can be validly constructed by means of
verbal reflection.” Stern, Donnel. 1997. Unformulated Experience: From
Dissociation to Imagination in Psychoanalysis. Analytic Press. Pp. 28-9.
“But although we can posit the presence of constraints, and although we
may be able to sense when we have violated at least those that are most
structured, that is as far as we can ever go toward grasping whatever
reality is. Even those hermeneuticists, such as Gadamer, who accept a
relation between understanding and some kind of ultimate reality, do not
believe we can ever directly perceive truth, only that small piece of it,
or ‘take’ on it, that is available in our particular time and place. All
that we really have a chance of knowing is when we are wrong. We can never
say exactly what constraints are, or when we are most right.” Stern,
Donnel. 1997. Unformulated Experience: From Dissociation to Imagination in
Psychoanalysis. Analytic Press. P. 29.
“Danchin in his
insightful book about genomes divides the cellular processes and their
associated constraints into four general categories: (i)
compartmentalization to segregate function in space and to differentiate
the ‘inside’ from the ‘outside’; (ii) metabolism that determines the flow
of matter, energy, and redox potential within cells, and its relationship
with the outside world; (iii) the transfer of memory to physicochemical
processes (i.e., ‘actuating’ inherited information); and (iv) memory
transmitted from one generation to the next.
“The author and his collaborators have defined four categories of
constraints that can be used to analyze the capabilities of reconstructed
biochemical reaction networks: (i) physicochemical constraints, (ii)
spatial and topological constraints, (iii) environmental constraints, and
(iv) regulatory constraints.” Palsson, Bernhard. 2006. Systems Biology:
Properties of Reconstructed Networks. Cambridge University Press. P. 21.
“Mathematically, constraints are represented as either balances or bounds.
1. A balance constraint is represented by an equality such as the
conservation of mass. In a steady state, there is no accumulation or
depletion of compounds; thus, the rate of production equals the rate of
consumption for each compound in the network....
2. A bound is represented by an inequality. Bounds are constraints that
limit the numerical ranges of individual variables and parameters such as
concentrations, fluxes, or kinetic constants. Upper and lower limits can
be applied to individual fluxes.” Palsson, Bernhard. 2006. Systems
Biology: Properties of Reconstructed Networks. Cambridge University Press.
have seen, people integrate political identities with shared stories about
those identities. Such stories crystallize answers to these sorts of
questions: Who are we? What are our rights and obligations: What do we
intend? Who are they? What are their rights and obligations? What do they
intend? Those stories constrain participants in contention thrice: by
setting limits on what sorts of joint interaction they consider, by
influencing their collective self-presentation, and by embodying standards
of proper individual performance.” Tilly, Charles. Identities, Boundaries,
& Social Ties. 2005. Paradigm Publishers. P. 64.
principle states that hierarchical control appears in collections of
elements within which there is some optimum loss of the effects of detail.
Many hierarchical structures will arise from the detailed dynamics of the
elements, as in the formation of chemical bonds, but the optimum degree of
constraint for hierarchical control is not determined by the detailed
dynamics of the elements. The dynamics of control is determined by how
these details are ignored. In other words, hierarchical controls arise
from a degree of internal constraint that forces the elements into a
collective, simplified behavior that is independent of selected details of
the dynamical behavior of its elements. It is the combination of the
independence of the constraints on the microscopic dynamics along with the
simplification of the collective dynamics which creates what we recognize
as integrated behavior or function.” Pattee, H.H. “The Physical Basis and
Origin of Hierarchical Control.” Pp. 71-108. Pattee, H.H., Editor.
Hierarchy Theory: The Challenge of Complex Systems. George Braziller, Inc.
1973. P. 93.
“In other words, forces of constraint are not the detailed forces of
individual particles, but forces from collections of particles or in some
cases from single units averaged over time. In any case, some form of
statistical averaging process has replaced the microscopic details. In
physics, then, in order to describe a constraint, one must relinquish
dynamical description of detail. A constraint requires an alternative
“Now I do not mean to sound as if this is all clearly understood. On the
contrary, even though physicists manage quite well to obtain answers for
problems that involve dynamics of single particles constrained by
statistical averages of collections of particles, it is fair to say that
these two alternative languages, dynamics and statistics, have never been
combined in an elegant way, although many profound attempts have been made
to do so. Furthermore, the problem has proven exceedingly obscure at the
most fundamental level–namely, the interface between quantum dynamics and
measurement statistics. This is known as the problem of quantum
measurement, and although it has been discussed by the most competent
physicists since quantum mechanics was discovered, it is still in an
unsatisfactory state.” Pattee, H.H. “The Physical Basis and Origin of
Hierarchical Control.” Pp. 71-108. Pattee, H.H., Editor. Hierarchy Theory:
The Challenge of Complex Systems. George Braziller, Inc. 1973. Pp. 85-6.
“What we need to find, then, is a clearer description of the degree of
constraint that gives rise to a control hierarchy. We can state two
conditions that must be satisfied. First, an effective control event
cannot be simply a passive, spatial constraint, but must actively change
the rate of one particular event, reaction, or trajectory relative to the
unconstrained rates. This condition is fulfilled by most devices that we
normally associate with existing control systems–for example, switches and
catalysts. Second, the operation of the constraint must be repeatable
without leading to the freezing up of the system. Another way to say this
is that control constraints must limit the trajectories of the system in a
regular way without a corresponding freezing out of its configurational
degrees of freedom.” Pattee, H.H. “The Physical Basis and Origin of
Hierarchical Control.” Pp. 71-108. Pattee, H.H., Editor. Hierarchy Theory:
The Challenge of Complex Systems. George Braziller, Inc. 1973. Pp. 83-4.
“The central point is that in each instance of neogenesis the properties
that appear during the origin of the new set are not the simple sum of the
properties of the components that make up the set. Whether the components
are newly formed within the set, or are preformed and secondarily brought
into association, the properties which characterize the set frequently
depend upon a new relationship established within the set and upon the
context, or superset, within which it functions. It is true that the
properties of the new set are in some sense imminent in the properties of
the components. Certainly these latter are sine qua non and in part
determinate. Nonetheless, particularly in biological systems, it takes
both a transformation and the establishment of a new context for these
properties to be manifested. Stated in other terms, the new information
generated by the relationships that are established as the new set appears
must be read in the context of the next higher order set. Therefore, the
emergence of new properties in hierarchical systems is closely linked to
what we may call the set-superset transition.” Grobstein, Clifford.
“Hierarchical Order and Neogenesis.” Pp. 29-47. Pattee, H.H., Editor.
Hierarchy Theory: The Challenge of Complex Systems. George Braziller, Inc.
1973. P. 45.
“The atom, the molecule, the crystal, and the solid can be distinguished
as levels by the criterion of number; that is, each level is made up of a
large collection of the units of the lower level. However, there is also a
physical hierarchy of forces underlying these levels, the strongest forces
being responsible for the smallest or lowest level structures. The
strongest force holds together the nuclei of the atoms, and the weakest
force, gravity, holds together the largest bodies of matter. There is also
a hierarchy of dynamical time scales, which may be associated with the
levels of forces, the shortest time with the strongest force and smallest
structures, and the longest time with the weakest force and largest
“As a result of these graded levels of numbers, forces, and time scales,
we can often write dynamical equations for only one level at a time using
the approximations that one particle is typical or representative of the
collection, that the fast motions one level down are averaged out, and
that the slow motions one level up are constant.” Pattee, H.H. “The
Physical Basis and Origin of Hierarchical Control.” Pp. 71-108. Pattee,
H.H., Editor. Hierarchy Theory: The Challenge of Complex Systems. George
Braziller, Inc. 1973. Pp. 76-7.
“A procedure is sequentially constrained if the execution of any enabled
operation will disable any other enabled but as yet unexecuted operation.
Where there are sequential constraints, it is necessary to have some
control over the sequence of actions.
“The performance of a sequentially constrained procedure may require
planning or backtracking. For example, getting dressed is sequentially
constrained because at the moment in which one has neither shoes nor socks
on, putting on shoes disables the operation of putting on socks. The
sequence of operations for orthodox dressing contains a sequential
constraint on the donning of socks and shoes.” Hutchins, Edwin. Cognition
in the Wild. 1995. MIT Press. P. 198.
“It is tempting to think that the words and the world are coordinated by
language in order to produce the meanings. It is more accurate to say that
the meanings, the world, and the words are put in coordination with one
another via the mediating structure of language. It is difficult to place
the meaning of the step cleanly inside or outside the person, because some
component of the meaning may be established by a kind of situated seeing
in which the meaning of the step exists only in that active process of
super-imposing internal structure on the experience of the external world.
That is, at some point in the development of the task performer’s
knowledge the step may not have a meaning in the absence of the world onto
which it can be read. Perhaps the meaning of a step can reside cleanly
inside a person only when the person has developed an internal image of
the external world that includes those aspects onto which the mediating
structure can be super-imposed. The structure of language may be changed
by its use, and what is thought to be in the world may be changed by
describing it in a particular way. Each of the structures provides
constraints on the others, and all are to some extent malleable. The
system composed of a task performer, mediating structures, and the task
world settles into a solution that satisfies as many constraints as is
possible.” Hutchins, Edwin. Cognition in the Wild. 1995. MIT Press. Pp.
“Rather, remembering is a constructive act of establishing coordination
among a set of media that have the functional properties such that the
states of some can constrain the states of others, or that the state of
one at time t can constrain its own state at time t + 1.” Hutchins, Edwin.
Cognition in the Wild. 1995. MIT Press. P. 309.
“When individual task performance is considered in the context of a larger
system, individual learning and mastery of the skills of a job appear as a
shift in the location of the mediating structures that constrain the
organization of action. In all cases, the mediating structures must exist
somewhere in the functional system. In the case of team performance, some
of the constraints are in the environment in the form of the behaviors of
the other members of the team. If the team is experienced, this means that
there will be redundant representation of the constraints of sequence,
since they will exist both in the individual actors and in the
interactions among them.” Hutchins, Edwin. Cognition in the Wild. 1995.
MIT Press. Pp. 312-3.
“Forming an interpretation is an instance of what computer scientists call
a constraint-satisfaction problem. Any coherent interpretation consists of
a number of parts; call them hypotheses. Some of the parts go together
with others or support one another; others exclude or inhibit one another.
These relationships among the parts of the interpretation are called
constraints." Hutchins, Edwin. Cognition in the Wild. 1995. MIT Press. P.
“History enters the universe when the space of the possible is much larger
than the space of the actual.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural
Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. P. xii.
“A process is the interaction of random events upon a configuration of
constraints that results in a nonrandom but indeterminate outcome.”
Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin.
2009. Templeton Foundation Press. P. 29.
“All that Elsasser has been telling us about both chance and heterogeneity
can neatly be summarized in a few words: ‘Combinatorics and heterogeneity
overwhelm law.’ That’s not to say that any laws are broken. Rather, for
any individual constraint, such as the conservation of energy in a
particular situation, there is a multiplicity, and usually a great
redundancy, in the number of patterns that could satisfy that law exactly.
It follows that the law in question is incapable of differentiating among
the many possibilities.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life
beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. P. 51.
... overall complexity = organized complexity + conditional entropy.
“The latter relationship implies that complexity can be parsed into two
distinct components: one that aggregates all the coherent constraints
inherent in the system and a complement that pools all the disorganized
and unencumbered complexity.” Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural
Life beyond Newton and Darwin. 2009. Templeton Foundation Press. P. 83.
“When two objects or systems are correlated by means of constraints, they
are said to be entrained. Murphy, Nancey & Warren Brown. Did My Neurons
Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral
Responsibility and Free Will. 2007. Oxford Univ. Press. P. 88.
“From information theory Juarrero employs a distinction between
context-free and context-sensitive constraints. First, an example of each.
In successive throws of a die, the numbers that have come up previously do
not constrain the probabilities for the current throw; the constraints on
the die’s behavior are context-free. In contrast, in a card game the
chances of drawing an ace at any point are sensitive to history; if one
ace has been drawn previously, the odds drop from 4 in 52 to 3 in 51. A
nonlinear system is one that imposes contextual constraints on its
components.” Murphy, Nancey & Warren Brown. Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?:
Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and
Free Will. 2007. Oxford Univ. Press. P. 88.
Authors & Works cited in Constraints:
Allen, T.F.H. &
Valerie Ahl. Hierarchy Theory: A Vision, Vocabulary
Ceruti, Mauro. Constraints and Possibilities: The Evolution of
Hutchins, Edwin. Cognition in the Wild
Mann, Charles. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus
Murphy, Nancey & Warren Brown. Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?
Palsson, Bernhard, Systems Biology: Properties of Reconstructed Networks
Pattee, H. H. “The Physics of Symbols and The Evolution of Semiotic
Pattee, H.H., “The Physical Basis and Origin of Hierarchical Control.”
Polanyi, Michael. 1968. “Life’s Irreducible Structure.”
Rasskin-Gutman, D. “Boundary Constraints for the Emergence of Form
Schneider, Eric & D. Sagan. Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics
Stern, Donnel. Unformulated Experience: From Dissociation to Imagination
Tilly, Charles. Identities, Boundaries, & Social Ties
Ulanowicz, Robert. A Third Window: Natural Life beyond Newton and Darwin