How Boyd used Gödel, Heisenberg, and the Second Law

Those of you who have taken on “Destruction and Creation” (available, along with all of Boyd’s works, from the Articles tab) have probably puzzled over how, and why, Boyd dragged in three concepts not ordinarily associated with strategy:

  • Gödel’s Theorem
  • The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Most people just shrug them off as analogies: We see something in domain B, strategy for example, that seems like something in domain A, say, particle physics.  I worked with Boyd on “Destruction and Creation,” and I’m reasonably sure that this is not how he’s using these concepts.

I’ve added a short paper to the Articles page that gives my explanation.  While you’re there, you might also check out Chuck Spinney’s take on “Destruction and Creation,” Evolutionary Epistemology, particularly charts 33-35, where he discusses Boyd’s use of the three concepts.

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