Thomas Homer-Dixon gave an introductory talk on complexity and his take on the potential value/use of complex systems theory. Some really interesting themes emerge in the Q&A following the talk.
One theme emphasised by Homer-Dixon is greater focus on ‘unknown unknowns’ (deep uncertainty). He argues that “what emerges is a recognition of a plurality of possibilities and this opens up ‘space’ for a more diverse and plural normative conversation than is possible in a conventional scientific ontology”.
The danger is that complexity theory could result in people saying ‘well we can’t manage, we can’t predict, let’s jettison science all-together…’. He argues this is a key risk that needs to be acknowledged and addressed.
This strikes me as an extremely important discussion for climate science, policy along with climate adaptation efforts.