Foundations of Science

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 687–705

Complexity, Networks, and Non-Uniqueness


DOI: 10.1007/s10699-012-9300-0

Cite this article as:
Baker, A. Found Sci (2013) 18: 687. doi:10.1007/s10699-012-9300-0


The aim of the paper is to introduce some of the history and key concepts of network science to a philosophical audience, and to highlight a crucial—and often problematic—presumption that underlies the network approach to complex systems. Network scientists often talk of “the structure” of a given complex system or phenomenon, which encourages the view that there is a unique and privileged structure inherent to the system, and that the aim of a network model is to delineate this structure. I argue that this sort of naïve realism about structure is not a coherent or plausible position, especially given the multiplicity of types of entities and relations that can feature as nodes and links in complex networks.


Complexity Networks Connection Nodes Links 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySwarthmore CollegeSwarthmoreUSA

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