Going Over the Dark Places: A Philosophical Model of Fitness-Maximizing, Highly Interconnected Systems in Highly Dynamic Environments
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This dissertation builds a philosophical model, SEER, of fitness-maximizing, highly interconnected systems in highly dynamic environments. I argue that such systems are maximally robust, where robustness is the property of maintaining functionality across multiple environments. I then argue that maximally robust systems utilize a dual phase evolutionary strategy, the developmental strategy. The developmental strategy consists of an exploration phase, whereby the system experiments with various configurations, and a selection phase, whereby the system selects that configuration, from the set of experimental configurations, leading to the highest fitness levels. The use of the developmental strategy entails that the system is plastic, modular, model building, and path dependent, which researchers can then test for in systems.