The Evolution of Complexity - Abstracts.

Complexity and Social Evolution

By Paul Stokes

  • University College Dublin
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  • Abstract:

    Complexity may well have been the inaugural experience that brought about the idea of society - certainly it arose from the experience of an action space that had become refractory over a relatively short period of time to: individual intentional action and social control.

    In ways that began to bother elements of the intellectual and governing classes (e.g. the physiocrats) and society became an explicit focus for intellectual speculation and theorisation i.e. in the interests of control.

    On the other hand, and completely divorced form all form of philosophical and sociological speculation, the developmental trajectories of many western state-based societies have been a function of their deployment, use and mastery of the technologies.

    Socially organised complexity is a defining experience of modern society and a major challenge to effective action and social control in and of society. The growth of the `organisation society' must be seen as the specific control response to this development.

    The development and spread of world-wide networking may mark the beginning of a step-wise transition to supra-societal control with potentially enormous consequences for nation/state-based societies.

    The paper will conclude by speculating on the possible conditions for a metasystem transition arising from these developments and whether these are likely to met in the near to distant future, if at all.


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