Workshop on Complexity, Relationality & Process Ontology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa

On the 10th, 11th and 12th of October, some of the SES-LINK team members participated in a workshop in Stellenbosch (South Africa) on how process ontologies can help us to formulate an ontological theory for Social-Ecological Systems as Complex Adaptive Systems. The beautiful environment was a source of inspiration and helped us focus on the definition of novel concepts that might help us take SES research further.

We were a small group of six, in which SES-LINK members Maja Schlüter, Tilman Hertz and María Mancilla-Garcí­a got the opportunity to meet and work with Jannie Hoffman, a biologist from the Center of Complex Systems in Transition (CST) specializing on Rosen’s process biology, Minka Woermann, a philosopher of complexity from Stellenbosch University Department of Philosophy and Rika Preiser, a trans-disciplinary complexity thinker, from CST. Oonsie Biggs also joined us for the first part of the workshop to give us an overview of the work they do at the CST. The workshop was held at STIAS, the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, and organized by the CST and GRAID by Rika Preiser.

Each of the participants presented their work on diverse aspects of relational and process ontologies which was a fruitful ground for discussions on a coherent narrative and conceptual set in view of developing a theory as to what it means to understand complexity from a process ontological point of view. As it is often the case, the final hours of the workshop were particularly fruitful and led us to define and relate key words for a process-based approach such as event, process, relations, potentialities and actualization, all of which will be put together in an opinion piece that the group decided to write. 

After the workshop, SES-LINK members Maja, Tilman and Maria, further worked on a hypothetical Agent Based Model (ABM) – or should we say a Relational Based Model!