Complex Systems Can Consist of Anything

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Our Folk Ontology interprets things as being of different genuses or types: locations, physical objects, organisms, biomes, organisations, words, to name a few. Based on that view, we understand different types of systems (e.g. physical, biological, social and conceptual ones) as made up of different types of things.

But there really are no types of things in the worldThe world is a hierarchy of systems without any intrinsic qualities or identities. Thus widely heterogeneous components can feature in Complex Systems – physical objects in organisations, words in a lab, microbiomes in organisms.DeLanda’s explication of the concept of Assemblage is roughly co-extensive and conceptually very similar to this and an illustration of the range of “types” that can make up a compley system.

So if we look at complex systems through the lens our Folk Ontology, we might miss important parts because we think they are of the “wrong” type when in reality they are crucial components of the systems.