Modelling Worldviews as Stable Metabolisms
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
The emergence and evolution of worldviews is a complex phenomenon that requires strong and rigorous scientific attention in our hyperconnected world. On the one hand, cognitive theories have proposed reasonable frameworks but have not reached general modeling frameworks where predictions can be tested. On the other hand, machine-learning-based applications perform extremely well at predicting outcomes of worldviews, but they rely on a set of optimized weights in a neural network that does not comply to a well-founded cognitive framework. In this article, we propose a formal approach used to investigate the establishment of and change in worldviews by recalling that the realm of ideas, where opinions, perspectives and worldviews are shaped, resemble, in many ways, a metabolic system. We propose a general modelization of worldviews based on reaction networks, and a specific starting model based on species representing belief attitudes and species representing belief change triggers. These two kinds of species combine and modify their structures through the reactions. We show that chemical organization theory combined with dynamical simulations can illustrate various interesting features of how worldviews emerge, are maintained and change. In particular, worldviews correspond to chemical organizations, meaning closed and self-producing structures, which are generally maintained by feedback loops occurring within the beliefs and triggers in the organization. We also show how, by inducing the external input of belief change triggers, it is possible to change from one worldview to another, in an irreversible way. We illustrate our approach with a simple example reflecting the formation of an opinion and a belief attitude about a theme, and, next, show a more complex scenario containing opinions and belief attitudes about two possible themes.