A Personal Comment from the Founding Editor

Posted on December 28, 2008 by


This blog will hopefully become a gathering spot for many people interested in the interdisciplinary study of emergent orders.

In an ideal world this blog will soon grow to include a variety of scholars doing work on various aspects of emergent order theory in the broad sense. Anyone publishing in our journal will have access to making posts with this general focus and we encourage comments. Our comments will be open to anyone doing serious research in this general area.

Increasingly and in many fields the concepts of emergence, complex adaptive systems, networks, and the like are coming to the fore of scholarly and scientific pursuit. While the general idea is several hundred years old, the rise of the Internet has really placed it on the intellectual map. Books on these topics are proliferating whereas a few years ago it was easy to read all that appeared. No more.

I have taken over the initial organizing task for this site, because someone has to, but I will regard it as less than a full success if I still hold this position in a few years.

A political scientist by training, I had long been attracted to the general work of F.A. Hayek and Michael Polanyi on the ‘spontaneous orders’ of the market and science. As I came better to understand their work I wondered whether there might be a number of such self-organizing processes in society, a question that led to my Ph.D. dissertation (Berkeley, 1984) arguing that democracies were also self-organizing systems. Since then I have become increasingly fascinated by the many areas these concepts are now arising within.

But academic departments were generally established long before this kind of uniting concept was understood. Consequently there is no real area where work from a variety of disciplines that address this field can be easily encountered. Systems theory in the broad sense is too general and traditional departments are too narrow. I hope this site, journal, and blog will provide the means by which we can come together productively.

You might be wondering how we are organized. Some generous contributions, especially by the creative folks involved with Tantalus Press in British Columbia were crucial in enabling us to design this site. The Fund for the Study of spontaneous Orders has funded our conferences, helping us to network much more widely and much less ideologically. They are also generously helping me with expenses during this early period.

If you are interested in being able to actively participate on this blog, please contact us here. Any serious scholar with any point of view is welcome, but our focus will be what is very broadly termed emergent processes.

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