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Complexure: Recursive readings and emergent meanings

Van Osselaer, Pierre (2001) Complexure: Recursive readings and emergent meanings. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Complexure is designed to open up an alternative thesis genre. It is an exploration at the manifold intersections between concepts of Complexity (as they arise in the philosophy of science) and concepts of Culture (as they arise in cultural theory). It is not an exegesis of theories as such but a series of practical thought experiments about how sense can be generated. Complexure questions the provision of general definitions abstracted from experience. It investigates definitions "in process". It uses associations between texts to question the idea of "definitive" meanings or of closure, as well as providing tools for the emergence of meaning. The thesis offers examples of intertextual associations and hypertextual links that compose tools for producing and investigating recursive readings.

The work has a linear incarnation. That is, the hard-copy version is based on a regular display sequence consisting of a "Preface", a set of "Reflections" and a "Postface", almost as if it were composed in the standard format of "proposition➔ exposition ➔ conclusion". Yet the work also has a non-linear incarnation. That is, the electronic version is a text-base of segments. To this extent, Complexure is best read -- indeed, used -- in the software version and the reader is encouraged to inspect this version first. This hypertextual version is an instantiation of processes investigated with (and by) Complexure. It is procedural and methodological; yet it is not an exegesis of methods of textual analysis in a context of complex phenomena. Rather, it is a tool for investigations into sense in-formation. It is, therefore, not a static text channelling the reader towards a conclusion, a singularity or a point of final closure. Instead, it is a dynamic set of methods and texts composing tools for the emergence of meanings in and as moments of reading.

Complexure questions dichotomies as forms of binary segregation. In doing so, it proposes combinations of interacting polarities. Complexure, that is, associates the everyday with the theoretical, topic with method, form with content, and so on. It is also multi-disciplinary and works at the interface between the humanities and the sciences. The generation of sense is therefore a critical subject of the thesis. Complexure (the thesis) is a critical object, and generating the idea of “complexure” is its critical objective. It allows for the emergence of “complex” meanings by multiple associations of simple elements. The thesis, then, does not so much “argue” (a “thesis” about self-organisation) as “allow”; it allows meanings to self-organise in sense.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): UNSPECIFIED
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