VII. Our Earthuman Moment: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Individuality
2. Complex Local to Global Network Biosocieties
This is an umbrella section for many exemplary aspects of smaller and larger human habitations. As the case with personal psychologies above, the growing application of nonlinear science to the multi-faceted field of sociology has also led to a notice of a common, innate mathematical basis. Rather than one thing after another sans any deeper context, a global vista can retrospectfully perceive how complex dynamic systems likewise self-organize into an exemplary shape and interaction of groups, assemblies, settlements and cities. A steady, nested scale then ranges from a few members to a metropolis. As introduced in Organic Societies earlier, bounded communities again evolve toward a composite organism-like cognitive coherence. As various papers report, from political elections, sporting events, social media, financial commerce, to migrations, and even battlefield chaos, can yet be to exhibit found a constant mathematical format.
Abbott, Andrew. Chaos of Disciplines. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. A sociologist contends that fractal self-similarity if seen as a branching dialectic is a good model to understand the dynamic behavior of both academia and society at large.
Agar, Michael. We Have Met the Other and We’re All Nonlinear: Ethnography as a Nonlinear Dynamic System. Complexity. 10/2, 2004, . A contribution, maybe even a manifesto, that wholly interconnected human societies can be at last understood in terms of iterative, recursive, fractally self-similar, complex adaptive systems.
Albrecht, Glenn. Directionality Theory: Neo-organicism and Dialectical Complexity. Democracy & Nature. 6/3, 2000. Since the demise of Marxism and because of the flaws in institutional democracy, a search is underway for a radical social alternative, in this instance sought in the nonlinear sciences.
The ancient idea that within life and the cosmos there might be fundamental ordering processes that provide a basis for directionality has received support from contemporary theorists of complex adaptive systems. Such support suggests, in line with the traditions of inner teleology of Aristotle and the dialectical traditions of Hegel and Bookchin, that spontaneous self-organization is an inherent property of many types of simple and complex systems. Such self-organization may be the product of ‘laws of order’ that operate beyond other known ordering factors such as natural selection and genetic inheritance. (409)
Amazeen, Poleminia. From Physics to Social Interactions: Scientific Unifications via Dynamics. Cognitive Systems Research. 52/640, 2018. In a section on Innovative Dynamical Approaches to Cognitive Systems, an Arizona State University psychologist contributes to rootings of our daily human behaviors and activities within a physical substrate by way of dynamical, self-similar complex systems. In this regard, as long intimated, our days and ways are exemplary manifestations of a deeper mathematical source. When then might we be able to say it is and must be genetic in kind?
The principle of dynamical similitude—the belief that the same behavior may be exhibited by very different systems—allows us to use mathematical models from physics to understand psychological phenomena. For example, the two-frequency resonance map can be used to make predictions about the performance of multifrequency ratios in physical, chemical, physiological and social behavior. An overview is provided of other methods, including mass-spring modeling and multifractal analysis, that have been applied successfully to psychological phenomena. A final demonstration of dynamical similitude comes from the use of the same multifractal method that was used to extract team-level experience from the neurophysiological data of individual team members to the analysis of a large scale economic phenomenon, the stock market index. (Abstract)
Arrow, Holly and K. L. Burns. Self-Organizing Culture. Schaller, Mark and Christian Crandall, eds. The Psychological Foundations of Culture. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2004. Social scientists are finding that dynamic complexity theories can explain how small groups can sustain an organic and cognitive coherence.
Ball, Philip. Critical Mass. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004. The British science writer first provides a thorough history of attempts from Thomas Hobbes to George Zipf to divine a physics of human society. This project has lately been advanced by the application of statistical mechanics by the way of complexity and network theory. These methods can then discern in the many agent behavior of collective assemblies such as cities and stock markets the deep presence of a universal, self-organized, scale-free, power law emergence.
Barnett, William, et al, eds. Commerce, Complexity and Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Nonlinear theories can explain a similar dynamic self-organization from ecological to economic systems
Baron, Reuben and Stephen Misovich. On the Relationship between Social and Cognitive Modes of Organization. Chaiken, Shelly and Yaacov Trope, eds. Dual-Process Theory in Social Psychology. New York: Guilford Press, 1999. This relationship occurs by means of viewing evolving societies as self-organizing complex adaptive systems.
In sum, we are….proposing that sociality and cognition mutually constrain each other in ways that are derivable from the principles of how complex, dynamic systems build higher-order levels of organization. (603)
Bell, James, et al. Beyond COVID-19: Network Science and Sustainable Exit Strategies. arXiv:2009.12968. A report from a virtual conference across the USA and UK to Australia by 14 complexity theorists and scholars including Sara Walker, Ginestra Bianconi, Paul Davies and Mikhail Prokopenko so to apply these deeper mathematics to better distill, discern and advise. Again we add that their independent, universal presence needs to be formally realized and confirmed, by which to gain a further insightful dimension.
On May 28th and 29th, a two day workshop was held virtually, facilitated by the Beyond Center at ASU and Moogsoft Inc. The aim was to bring together leading scientists with an interest in Network Science and Epidemiology to attempt to inform public policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Epidemics are at their core a process that progresses dynamically upon a network, and are a key area of study in Network Science. In the course of the workshop a wide survey of the state of the subject was conducted. We summarize in this paper a series of perspectives of the subject, and where the authors believe fruitful areas for future research are to be found. (Abstract)
Berscheid, Ellen. The Greening of Relationship Science. American Psychologist. 54/4, 1999. A proposal to move beyond studies of isolated individuals, a necessary phase but now past its prime, by admitting the importance of reciprocal dyadic affiliations between persons. Such a realization could transcend, Berscheid advises, the present gridlock political opposition between conservatives and liberals.
Blanton, Richard and Lane Fargher. How Humans Cooperate: Confronting the Challenges of Collective Action. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2016. . In a broad retrospective, a Purdue University anthropologist and a National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico archaeologist join the rising consensus (our own cooperative synthesis) that communal groupings have an evolutionary precedence in fostering survival and prosperity. As individual members gain in return, a viable (democratic) collectivity best serves each and all. These findings are then braced by neurobiological, primatology, social intelligence, economic trading, and beyond.
. In a broad retrospective, a Purdue University anthropologist and a National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico archaeologist join the rising consensus (our own cooperative synthesis) that communal groupings have an evolutionary precedence in fostering survival and prosperity. As individual members gain in return, a viable (democratic) collectivity best serves each and all. These findings are then braced by neurobiological, primatology, social intelligence, economic trading, and beyond.
Blute, Marion. Darwinian Sociocultural Evolution: Solutions to Dilemmas in Cultural and Social Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. While an opening Preface entitled A Postmodern Metanarrative demurs that social science now rules out any overarching scenario, a University of Toronto philosopher presses on in search of an evolutionary context for this discipline, while tacitly holding to its prohibition. I have heard Professor Blute speak brilliantly at conferences, but as so many scholars today is compromised by an impoverishment that academia has cast upon itself.
Table of Contents: 1. Introduction; 2. History: where did something come from?; 3. Necessity: why did it evolve?; 4. Competition, conflict and cooperation: why and how do they interact socially?; 5. The ideal and the material: the role of memes in evolutionary social science; 6. Micro and macro I: the problem of agency; 7. Micro and macro II: the problem of subjectivity; 8. Micro and macro III: the evolution of complexity and the problem of social structure; 9. Evolutionism: the old, the new and the future of the social sciences.