Published In

The Character Concept in Evolutionary Biology, Gunter Wagner, Ed., Academic Press, 2001.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



System theory, Information theory, Set-theoretic modeling, Log-linear models, Complexity, Entropy, Multivariate analysis


Reconstructability analysis (RA) decomposes wholes, namely data in the form either of set-theoretic relations or multivariate probability distributions, into parts, namely relations or distributions involving subsets of variables. Data is modeled and compressed by variablebased decomposition, by more general state-based decomposition, or by the use of latent variables. Models, which specify the interdependencies among the variables, are selected to minimize error and complexity.


This is the author's version of a book chapter that was subsequently published in "The character concept in evolutionary biology," published and copyright by Academic Press; edited by Gunter P. Wagner.

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