pp.195-211: Troy Earl Camplin

“The Spontaneous Orders of the Arts”
Studies in Emergent Order, Vol. 3 (2010)


Like other complex adaptive systems (CAS), any given work of art is complex, is a discovery process, makes use of rules, relies on the knowledge and insight of the artist, and evolved through feedback from others artists and the artist’s audience. The same could be said of an artist’s history of work, and of the arts as a system. More, if spontaneous orders require equality of status among agents, freedom of entry and exit, and rules of procedure, then it seems that the arts qualify as a social spontaneous order. With the specific example of literature, we also see that with the emergence of the literary spontaneous order, the foundations for the other liberal spontaneous orders – the free market and democracy in particular – are laid.

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