The notion of phenomena is central to the approach to understanding complex systems and enterprises advanced in this book. Identification, composition, and visualization of phenomena are central to the first four steps on the methodology presented in Chapter 2. Representation of phenomena, composition of these representations, and computation and visualization of the resulting compositions are central to the last six steps of the methodology presented in Chapter 2. In this chapter, we explore the fundamental nature of phenomena, both historically and from contemporary perspectives. A taxonomy of phenomena is introduced. Application of the taxonomy is illustrated for categorizing phenomena associated with the six archetypal problems introduced in Chapter 2. Finally, visualization of phenomena is discussed.
First, what is meant by the term “phenomena”? There are many definitions that depend on the context of use – for example, a particular jazz saxophonist might be characterized as a “phenomenon.” Within the context of science and engineering, Boon (2012) provides examples such as “elasticity, specific weight, viscosity, specific heat content, melting point, electrical resistance, thermal conductivity, magnetic permeability, physical hysteresis, crystallinity, refractivity, chemical affinity, wavelength, chemical diffusivity, solubility, electric field strength, super conductivity, and atomic force.” These examples ...