An especially important result of the contemporary study concerns the availability of (descriptive and normative) models for explaining discoveries and creative processes. Descriptive models mainly aim at explaining the origin of novel products; normative models moreover address the question how rational researchers should proceed when confronted with problems for which a standard procedure is missing. The present book provides an overview of these models and of the important changes they induced within methodology. As appears from several papers, the methodological study of discovery and creativity led to profound changes in our conceptions of justification and acceptance, of rationality, of scientific change, and of conceptual change. The book contains contributions from both historians and philosophers of science. All of them, however, are methodological in the contemporary sense of the term. The central values of this methodology are empirical accurateness, clarity and precision, and rationality. The different contributions realize these values by their interdisciplinary nature. Some philosophically oriented papers rely on historical case studies and results from the cognitive sciences, others on recent results from the computer sciences and/or non-standard logics. The historically oriented papers address central philosophical questions and hypotheses.
Now, in his new book, Fisher shows how we can manage our complex social lives in an ever more chaotic world. His investigation encompasses topics ranging from “swarm intelligence” to the science of parties and the best ways to start a fad. Finally, Fisher sheds light on the beauty and utility of complexity theory. An entertaining journey into the science of everyday life, The Perfect Swarm will delight anyone who wants to understand the complex situations in which we so often find ourselves.
Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier's most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them. Mary Roach dodges hostile fire with the U.S. Marine Corps Paintball Team as part of a study on hearing loss and survivability in combat. She visits the fashion design studio of U.S. Army Natick Labs and learns why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She visits a repurposed movie studio where amputee actors help prepare Marine Corps medics for the shock and gore of combat wounds. At Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, in east Africa, we learn how diarrhea can be a threat to national security. Roach samples caffeinated meat, sniffs an archival sample of a World War II stink bomb, and stays up all night with the crew tending the missiles on the nuclear submarine USS Tennessee. She answers questions not found in any other book on the military: Why is DARPA interested in ducks? How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again.
Drawing on ecology and biology, math and physics, Crashes, Crises, and Calamities offers four fundamental tools that scientists and engineers use to forecast the likelihood of sudden change: stability, catastrophe, complexity, and game theories. In accessible prose, Len Fisher demonstrates how we can foresee and manage events that might otherwise catch us by surprise.
At the cutting edge of science, Fisher helps us find ways to act before a full-fledged catastrophe is upon us. Crashes, Crises, and Calamities is a witty and informative exploration of the chaos, complexity, and patterns of our daily lives.