A characteristic feature of complex systems is their deep structure, meaning that the definition of their states and observables depends on the level, or the scale, at which the system is considered. This scale dependence is reflected in the distinction of micro- and macro-states, referring to lower and higher levels of description. There are several conceptual and formal frameworks to address the relation between them. Here, we focus on an approach in which macrostates are contextually emergent from (rather than fully reducible to) microstates and can be constructed by contextual partitions of the space of microstates. We discuss criteria for the stability of such partitions, in particular under the microstate dynamics, and outline some examples. Finally, we address the question of how macrostates arising from stable partitions can be identified as relevant or meaningful.
Entropy 2016, 18(12), 426; doi: 10.3390/e18120426