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Flock Theory: A New Model of Emergent Self-Organization in Human Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  Flock Theory 5 non-analytically solvable nonlinearity of such systems, where emergent phenomena will be different at each point in their trajectory. Roger Sperry (1988) pointed out that the mind emerges out of brain functions, yet the mind can have contributory power in affecting the brain – if emergents have causal power than they cannot be simply provisional. The basis of the provisionality issue is not a scientific one but a metaphysical assumption that there is one ontological level and the goal of scientific inquiry is to reduce new levels to this basic one, called ontological-level monism. With the increase of work in fields such as nonlinear dynamics and complexity theory (see Gleick, 1998; Nicolis, 1989; and Prigogine & Stengers 1984), natural systems and processes that can not be explained by an overly reductionistic perspective due to the mathematical complexity of such phenomena (Goldstein, 1999). Likewise, chaos theory suggests that apparent uniqueness may arise from deterministic nonlinear systems. The estimation of initial conditions will not suffice for accuracy, undermining the prospect for simplified prediction and reductionist explanation. Developments in the study of emergence challenge how both the social and natural sciences have traditionally worked. Since reductionism traditionally assumes the notion that the elemental parts should explain the whole, complex phenomena must be elaborated in terms of one level or type of unit (Hodgsen, 2000). Reductionism remains conspicuous in social science because it characteristically appears as methodological individualism (Elster, 1982). Hodgson (2000) points out that reductionism should be distinguished from reduction, which involves the fractional breakdown of elements at one level into parts of some different level. As Popper (1974) points out, there is frequently an “unresolved residue” (p. 260) left by attempts at reduction, even if successful. Emergent properties are, by definition, not explainable in

Authors: Rosen, Devan.
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Flock Theory 5
non-analytically solvable nonlinearity of such systems, where emergent phenomena will be
different at each point in their trajectory. Roger Sperry (1988) pointed out that the mind emerges
out of brain functions, yet the mind can have contributory power in affecting the brain – if
emergents have causal power than they cannot be simply provisional.
The basis of the provisionality issue is not a scientific one but a metaphysical assumption
that there is one ontological level and the goal of scientific inquiry is to reduce new levels to this
basic one, called ontological-level monism. With the increase of work in fields such as nonlinear
dynamics and complexity theory (see Gleick, 1998; Nicolis, 1989; and Prigogine & Stengers
1984), natural systems and processes that can not be explained by an overly reductionistic
perspective due to the mathematical complexity of such phenomena (Goldstein, 1999).
Likewise, chaos theory suggests that apparent uniqueness may arise from deterministic nonlinear
systems. The estimation of initial conditions will not suffice for accuracy, undermining the
prospect for simplified prediction and reductionist explanation.
Developments in the study of emergence challenge how both the social and natural
sciences have traditionally worked. Since reductionism traditionally assumes the notion that the
elemental parts should explain the whole, complex phenomena must be elaborated in terms of
one level or type of unit (Hodgsen, 2000). Reductionism remains conspicuous in social science
because it characteristically appears as methodological individualism (Elster, 1982). Hodgson
(2000) points out that reductionism should be distinguished from reduction, which involves the
fractional breakdown of elements at one level into parts of some different level. As Popper
(1974) points out, there is frequently an “unresolved residue” (p. 260) left by attempts at
reduction, even if successful. Emergent properties are, by definition, not explainable in


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