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A theoretical frame for future studies

Andrée C. Ehresmann (Based at the Faculté des Sciences, Mathématiques, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 25 January 2013




Future studies can be given several interpretations. The purpose of this paper is to develop a methodology for anticipation in a well delimited frame, that of multi‐scale complex systems with a dynamic directed by the cooperation/competition between a net of agents, the “co‐regulators”, each operating with its own rhythm and logic, with the help of a central memory. These systems include social systems of different sizes from small social groups, to large societies, and also living or artificial cognitive systems.


The study is conducted in the frame of the Memory Evolutive Systems, a model for such systems, which the author has developed with Jean‐Paul Vanbremeersch in a series of publications since 1987; this model is based on a “dynamic” category theory.


It is found that the characteristics of these systems making them capable of developing complex scenarios are: a kind of “flexible redundancy” (possibility of switches between decompositions of complex components), called the Multiplicity Principle; development of a hierarchical, robust though flexible, memory containing an internal model of the system and its environment; modulation of the global dynamic by an interplay between the local dynamics of the co‐regulators, in which the non respect of the “synchronicity laws” may lead to cascades of dysfunctions backfiring between levels.


The model shows how to develop innovative scenarios through a sequence of retrospection and prospection processes.



Ehresmann, A.C. (2013), "A theoretical frame for future studies", On the Horizon, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 46-53.



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