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Flock Theory: A New Model of Emergent Self-Organization in Human Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  Flock Theory 4 communication research by Eric Eisenberg on jamming and organizing is covered, followed by R. Keith Sawyers work on the emergence of creativity, and an explanation of Autopoiesis. Craig Reynolds’ work on the successful simulation of flocks is then described as an initial model of flock behavior leading to the presentation of Flock Theory using formal axioms and tenets. Finally, methods for testing and contributions to social science are offered. Literature Emergence Role of Emergence in Scientific Explanation “Emergence … refers to the arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns, and properties during the process of self-organization in complex systems,” (Goldstein, 1999, p. 49). Emergence has a rich and multidisciplinary history of investigation into the characteristics associated with emergent phenomena, often falling under the titles of complexity theory or self- organizing systems (see Contractor, 1994; Contractor & Grant, 1996; Contractor & Seibold, 1993; Darley, 1994; Gilbert, 1995; Gleick, 1987; Hodgson, 2000; Maturana & Varela, 1980; Monge & Contractor, 2001; Monge & Eisenberg, 1987; Prigogine & Stengers, 1984; and Wheeler, 1928). Emergence functions as a descriptive concept directing attention to the patterns, structures, and properties that systems embody on the macro level. Emergence provides a basis on which to develop an explanation, not its terminus. A common criticism of emergence has been that it does no more than provide provisional status. It is argued here that the provisional nature of emergence can actually be a supportive element because science must be able to deal with phenomena in which there is less than perfect knowledge. In complexity theory a limitation that is unavoidable is predictability concerning the

Authors: Rosen, Devan.
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Flock Theory 4
communication research by Eric Eisenberg on jamming and organizing is covered, followed by
R. Keith Sawyers work on the emergence of creativity, and an explanation of Autopoiesis. Craig
Reynolds’ work on the successful simulation of flocks is then described as an initial model of
flock behavior leading to the presentation of Flock Theory using formal axioms and tenets.
Finally, methods for testing and contributions to social science are offered.
Literature
Emergence
Role of Emergence in Scientific Explanation
“Emergence … refers to the arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns, and
properties during the process of self-organization in complex systems,” (Goldstein, 1999, p. 49).
Emergence has a rich and multidisciplinary history of investigation into the characteristics
associated with emergent phenomena, often falling under the titles of complexity theory or self-
organizing systems (see Contractor, 1994; Contractor & Grant, 1996; Contractor & Seibold,
1993; Darley, 1994; Gilbert, 1995; Gleick, 1987; Hodgson, 2000; Maturana & Varela, 1980;
Monge & Contractor, 2001; Monge & Eisenberg, 1987; Prigogine & Stengers, 1984; and
Wheeler, 1928).
Emergence functions as a descriptive concept directing attention to the patterns,
structures, and properties that systems embody on the macro level. Emergence provides a basis
on which to develop an explanation, not its terminus.
A common criticism of emergence has been that it does no more than provide provisional
status. It is argued here that the provisional nature of emergence can actually be a supportive
element because science must be able to deal with phenomena in which there is less than perfect
knowledge. In complexity theory a limitation that is unavoidable is predictability concerning the


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