*Plenary Meeting July 1*

Hey everyone, we're planning to have an initial hangout meeting tomorrow, July 1, to discuss scheduling and planning for the group. We're shooting for some time in the evening (likely between 8 and 9 PM) Pacific time. Please join in if you can! I'll get an exact time up tomorrow once I have one.

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Welcome to the summer study group on dynamical systems theory and philosophy!

This group is aimed at philosophers (and other interested non-specialists) who want to learn more about the mathematics and science of dynamical systems, with a particular eye toward applying the concepts from that field to contemporary problems in philosophy. We'll cover the basics of most of the mathematics necessary to understand what dynamical systems theory is all about, and to understand how it contributes to our understanding of the world.

The group will consist of both independent reading/work and joint discussions on the material, as well as on the implications of the material to contemporary philosophy (especially philosophy of science). The group discussions will take place here on Google's "Hangouts On Air," and so will be archived and available on YouTube after the fact. Anyone who wants to participate at any level is welcome. Feel free to follow along closely and participate in the group discussions, or merely watch the hangouts after the fact (or anything in between). No specific background is necessary, though a familiarity with algebra and geometry will make things much easier for you.

We'll be starting with a review of the basics of single and multivariable calculus (probably drawing heavily on Khan Academy's stuff on that), and then move on to work through Stephen Strogratz' book excellent book Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos (https://www.amazon.com/Nonlinear-Dynamics-Chaos-Applications-Nonlinearity/dp/0738204536), possibly supplemented with other things.

The discussions will run weekly or semi-weekly, but this group will be a constant resource for people who prefer to participate asynchronously. Feel free to post discussion threads, questions, or reflections on the material (and related issues). I'll do my best to answer any questions that come up, and hopefully others will participate as well. Both the main participants (myself and +Kyle Broom ) are philosophers by training (i.e. we have PhDs in the subject), but I'm hopeful that people with different backgrounds will join in as well.

The focus here will be on conceptual rather than computational understanding, so rather than working on problem sets and the like, we'll emphasize getting a good intuitive understanding of the mathematics--enough to understand the field--and then considering some of the more "philosophical" (or foundational) issues the mathematics and science raises.

More material will be forthcoming soon (including a schedule, hopefully). In the meantime, feel free to invite other people whom you think may be interested, and post an introduction about yourself in the "Introductions" category so we can get a feel for what everyone's background and interests are.

I'm a philosopher of science interested primarily in the philosophical foundations of the natural sciences, particularly the complex systems sciences and climate science. I completed my PhD in philosophy in 2014, under Philip Kitcher at Columbia University. My doctoral work analyzed climate science from the perspective of complex systems theory, and discussed the role that computer simulations play in climate prediction. I am currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Southern California, working on interdisciplinary problems in philosophy of science and climate science.

My interests and background are strongest in the foundations of climate science and related problems, but I also have a strong base of knowledge in complexity theory and dynamical systems more generally, as well as in the foundations of computational modeling in the natural sciences. My research centers on the novel problems posed by modeling complex natural systems, including structural model error and the interplay between pragmatic value judgements and the construction of objective formal models, as well as more general foundational questions about the nature of self-organization and emergence in complex adaptive systems. I have also done work at the intersection of complexity theory and the philosophy of biology, engaging with questions about self-organized complexity and function in biological systems, and drawing a contrast with synthetically engineered systems of similar organizational structure.
I also have strong interests in the philosophy of technology, information theory, network theory, and the foundations of quantum mechanics.

I'll be leading the reading group, at least nominally, though I hope other people with different areas of expertise will contribute just as much as I do.
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