State Space

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A state space (or, which is roughly equivalent, phase space) is the set of all possible states of a Dynamical System; each state of the system corresponds to a unique point in the state space.

Describing a system in its state space means switching from a simple space (with 3 dimensions) and complex things (made out of N elements) to a complex space (3^N dimensions) and simple things (points in that space).

A system’s development over time, i.e. its System Dynamics is equivalent to a trajectory in its state space. All possible trajectories in the space can be expressed as vectors; their aggregation is called the phase portrait of the state space.

The regions of the state space in which a system stays or to which it returns (i.e. in which it is stable) are the system’s Attractor regions.

An Attractor Landscape is the abstraction of a state space to what is relevant, i.e. interesting to us – attractors and possible trajectories between them.


Attractor Landscape

An attractor landscape is an abstraction of the State Space of a System.


An attractor is the set of states a System tends to be in given what it is or how it can maintain its boundaries.


We want a parsimonious and productive ontology in which modality is dissolved into systems described in State Spaces: there are no more basic principles of change and modality beyond these local constraints; they, and not possible worlds, laws, or counterfactuals, are the ontological bedrock of dynamical organizationWinning & Bechtel (2018), 295 In other words, causation consists in constraints.

Complex System

A complex system is a Dynamical System that has the following attributes:Derived from Mitchell (2009) and Ladyman & Wiesner (2020).


Constraints are relational properties components acquire in virtue of being embedded in a higher level SystemJuarrero (1998), 234 alterations in the probability distribution of a system’s State Spaceibid.

Dynamical System

A dynamical system is a System that changes over time.

Prioritise Abstraction Over Metaphor

Usually, the Abstractions we are using are based on Conceptual Metaphors.

Scale Free Abstraction

We want a Sensemaking Framework that helps maximise scope, detail, and cognitive efficiency of Sensemaking.

Systems Emerge Due to Constraints

Systems or, more precisely, dissipative and autocatalytic structures that are precursors of autonomous, e.

Systems Live in State Spaces

We want a parsimonious and productive ontology.

The World Is a Hierarchy of Systems

When thinking about ontology, i.