Douglas R. White Winter Quarter, 2000 Ý
Course Code 60270 revised 1-6-00
12:30 pm to 1:50: Tuesdays in SSL 145 and Thursdays in 155 SST (Computer Lab)
Office Hours: Tues/Th 11:30-12:30 and by Appt SSPA4169 x5893, x8495 (Luisa 3175 SSPA)
As approaches to social science, and the understanding of society and social dynamics, theories of complexity and evolutionary dynamics are explored through readings (many online) and practicum in the computer lab.Ý The key to complexity is internal diversity, which implies heterarchy: heterogeneity driving up-down processes that drive side-side interactions spawning further heterogeneity. Heterarchical systems are ubiquitous in nature and society. They require variably long time scales for the interactions among their diverse elements to unwind towards thermodynamic equilibrium. The unwinding of long-span (e.g., solar) systems fuels the wind-up of shorter-span (e.g., living) systems. Stacks of such complex systems comprise the universe - physical, biological, and social - as we know it. Within those stacks of interest to this course, we focus on the newly emergent sciences of complexity to study the principles of self-organization of social systems. We review foundational principles of complex systems and cutting edge research at the Santa Fe Institute, MIT and elsewhere, from studies of Renaissance Florence to Eastern Europe and contemporary market systems.Ý The instructor is a working group member of the Santa Fe Institute and cofounder of a systems science research group that includes Yates, Iberall and Soodak and numerous social scientists.Ý
In addition to readings on basic principles, students explore several current research approaches in the social sciences and focus on one for a class presentation and term paper.Ý Students with no computer expertise and those with such expertise are both encouraged to participate.Ý Students may work on the presentations and written projects either individually or in groups of up to 3. Guidance is provided for those who wish to do web site presentations.
Dynamical simulation has become a key conceptual tool for the social sciences in understanding how the existing diversity of complex systems has evolved, and may continue to evolve, in the absence of rational planning or central direction. Implications for contemporary political and economic issues (as articulated, e.g., by Postrel) include benefits of decentralized evolutionary processes (and tacit/local versus formal/expert knowledge) resulting from innumerable local interactions among actors versus centralized processes where major actors dominate.
Physicists speak to thermodynamic engine processes driving evolution as the unwinding of complex heterarchical systems (where equilibrium equates to death). Darwinian principles speak to how diversity is generated in biological systems through differential reproduction. Evolutionary game theory speaks to how replicator dynamics lead to diverse trajectories, path dependencies, and stable outcomes other than those predicted by models of rational choice and economic equilibrium. Young (1998: 144) concludes: "the evolutionary approach is a means of reconstructing game theory with minimal requirements about knowledge and rationality" while: "Interpreted more broadly, the theory suggests how complex economic and social structure [norms, cultures, institutions] can emerge from simple, uncoordinated actions of many individuals."
John H. Holland, 1995. Hidden Order: how adaptation builds complexity. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley. IN THE BOOKSTORE (Amazon and B/N price: $10.40+)
Reader, Chapter 1. Unified Social Science and the Scaffolding of Hierarchical Levels
Reader, Chapter 1. Robbins & Hassler, Kelso and Arthur - Systems analysis and strategies
Browse: web links
Reader, Chapter 2. Social Dynamics and Rules of Interaction in the Contemporary Context (Postrel): Heterarchy in Networks
Thermodynamic Principles for the Social Sciences Douglas R. White
Reader, Chapter 3. from Yates - Thermodynamics and physics of complex systems
Reader, Chapter 4. Wilkenson - invitation
Browse: linkages longitudinal fieldsites
Skyrms (text). The Social Contract Emergent from Multi-Actor Interactions (see Evolutionary Game Theory by Jason Alexander)
Reader, Chapter 5. Kauffman - selection of dynamical order.
Reader, Chapter 6. Horgan - muddles in the models.
Reader, Chapter 7. Padgett - rise of the medici
Reader, Chapter 8. Skyrms
Reader, Chapter 9. Holland
Reader, Chapter 10. Szilagyi and Szilagyi
Network explorations in Tierra, artificial life
Reader, Chapter 11. Skyrms - dynamic model of network formation
Combining thermodynamic laws with multi-agent models: Velocity of trade phase transitions in economic organization
see links to: social networks
Tom Abel's Simulations by Shenin Mesdaghi
see links to: multi-agent simulations
see links to: evolutionary game theory
Individual Strategy and Social Structure: An Evolutionary Theory of Institutions, by H. Peyton Young, H. Peyton Young (Brookings Institute), Peyton H. Young Amazon Price: $37.50
Would-Be Worlds: How Simulation Is Changing the Frontiers of Science, by John L. Casti
George B. Dyson, 1997. Chapter 10 (Self-Organizing Systems). Darwin among the machines. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
For a synopsis of evolutionary theory in biology: John Maynard Smith and O–rs Szathm·ry. 1999. The Origins of Life.
Also: Grobstein, Clifford. 1974 (2nd edition). The Strategy of Life. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.
Tentative Conclusions for Better Approaches to Historical Complexity: SFI Report on Hayward Alken
Global Politics, Common Culture and Sustainability: Robert Axelrod Builds Two New Models
For math and computer background to complexity: The Computational Beauty of Nature : Computer Explorations of Fractals, Chaos, Complex Systems, and Adaptation by Gary William Flake. Amazon Price: $45.00
Dynamic Patterns : The Self-Organization of Brain and Behavior (Complex Adaptive Systems) J. A. Scott Kelso. Paperback 1995 Amazon Price: $30
review by Gert Korthof
Kauffman At Home in the Universe. "The secret of life is auto-catalysis"
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation.
book reviews from JASSS:
Chaos, Complexity, and Sociology: Myths, Models, and Theories, Edited by Raymond A. Eve, Sara Horsfall and Mary E. Lee. London: Sage Publications. 1997. Reviewed by Alan Dean.
Barriers and Bounds to Rationality: Essays on Economic Complexity and Dynamics in Interactive Systems by Peter S. Albin, Edited by Duncan K. Foley. Princeton, NJ: Princeton thUniversity Press 1998. Reviewed by Roger A. McCain.
Thought Contagion: How Belief Spreads through Society. Aaron Lynch. New York, NY: Basic Books. 1996. Reviewed by Paul Marsden.
Social Science Microsimulation. Edited by Klaus G. Troitzsch, et al. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 1996. reviewed by Brendan Halpin.
System Effects: Complexity in Political and Social Life. by Robert Jervis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1997 reviewed by Scott E. Page.
Iberall, Arthur, A characteristic 500-year process-time in cultural civilization, Comparative Civilization Review, 32: 146-162, Spring, 1995.
David Green's Complex Systems Virtual Library
Yahoo's Complex Systems pages Complexity: applications some
web links Brief
Overview of Swarm Agent Simulation Adaptive
Agent Simulation SANTA FE INSTITUTE Yahoo's Artificial Life pages ALife
home page Village
simulation Roger A.
McCain Strategy and Conflict: An Introductory Sketch of Game Theory Complexification:
Explaining a Paradoxical World Through the Science of Surprise, by John L.
Logics of Social Structure by Kyriakos M. Kontopolous $52.95+ Computer Simulation:
The Art and Science of Digital World Construction, by Paul A. Fishwick Networks
in Action: Communication, Economics and Human Knowledge, by David Batten,
John Casti, Roland Thord (Editor) Cooperation
and Conflict in General Evolutionary Processes, by John L. Casti (Editor),
Anders Karlqvist (Editor)
some notes and
Yahoo's Complex Systems pages
Complexity: applications some web links
Brief Overview of Swarm Agent Simulation
Adaptive Agent Simulation SANTA FE INSTITUTE
Yahoo's Artificial Life pages
ALife home page
Roger A. McCain Strategy and Conflict: An Introductory Sketch of Game Theory
Complexification: Explaining a Paradoxical World Through the Science of Surprise, by John L. Casti
The Logics of Social Structure by Kyriakos M. Kontopolous $52.95+
Computer Simulation: The Art and Science of Digital World Construction, by Paul A. Fishwick
Networks in Action: Communication, Economics and Human Knowledge, by David Batten, John Casti, Roland Thord (Editor)
Cooperation and Conflict in General Evolutionary Processes, by John L. Casti (Editor), Anders Karlqvist (Editor)