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In Context #6 (Fall, 2001)

Notes and Reviews

The Trouble with Qualities
by Stephen L. Talbott

If you are pursuing a qualitative science, sooner or later someone is bound to ask, "Can you define 'quality' for me?" It can be a little embarrassing, since no satisfactory answer is close at hand." If you are like me, you may suspect that our difficult in saying what a quality is reflects a striking cognitive deficit in ourselves.

The Great Green Hype
by Craig Holdrege

A farmer committed to genetically modified soybeans asked Craig why environmental activists are so intent on demonizing him. But by whom is he really being victimized?

Feature Articles

What Forms an Animal?
by Craig Holdrege

Skulls of lions raised in captivity differ dramatically from skulls of the same subspecies raised in the wild. The difference, immediately evident to the untrained eye, points to the plasticity of the organism's genetic inheritance, and to the role of behavior and environment in molding the organism. The antelope helps to form the lion, right down to the shape and thickness of its skull bones.

The Lure of Complexity
by Stephen L. Talbott

Those pursuing the "science of complexity" have made dramatic claims for a new holism and an escape from reductionism. Preparatory to a critical assessment of these claims, here is a summary of some of the themes and methods characterizing the work on complexity.

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