Hierarchy Theory, Ecological
Published Online: 15 JAN 2013
Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Encyclopedia of Environmetrics
How to Cite
Allen, T. F. 2013. Hierarchy Theory, Ecological . Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 3.
- Published Online: 15 JAN 2013
Hierarchy theory looks at and announces the decisions of the observer of complex systems. It deals with the first compression down to the universe in which is the second compression that translates experience into models. It does not predict, but rather organizes the arena in which normal science does predict. Bio-social hierarchies are richer than physical hierarchies because coding stabilizes more levels. Hierarchies put part/whole dual structures, holons, at particular levels that are ordered on five principles, in three basic hierarchical types. Hierarchies describe emergence. Hierarchy theory is robust to realism which looks for ontologically real hierarchies, or constuctivist philosophies that are agnostic as to a real material external world. It can also tolerate anti-realist philosophies that assert that hierarchies are only human constructions.