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Evolution of Complex Systems. Lecture 7: Society and its reproduction Peter Andras / Bruce Charlton peter.andras@ncl.ac.uk bruce.charlton@ncl.ac.uk. Objectives. Multi-organism systems Human communications Human society Human artefacts and writing Education system The system of religion

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evolution of complex systems

Evolution of Complex Systems

Lecture 7: Society and its reproduction

Peter Andras / Bruce Charlton



  • Multi-organism systems
  • Human communications
  • Human society
  • Human artefacts and writing
  • Education system
  • The system of religion
  • The system of science
  • Identity violation and adaptation
  • Multi-cellular systems made up of inter-cellular communications
  • Subsystems of specialist communications: tissues
  • E.g., muscle tissue, nervous system
organism actions and perceptions
Organism actions and perceptions
  • Actions: sequence of patterns of inter-cellular communications
  • E.g., limb movement
  • Perception: environmental actions on cells that are part of the organism, changing their communications, and changing in this way the pattern of communications within the organism
  • E.g., perception of light by photoreceptors
inter organism communications
Inter-organism communications
  • Organism actions on the environment
  • The changes in the environment are perceived by another organism through environment induced changes in its own communications
  • E.g., sound emission, transmission and reception
referencing in inter organism communications
Referencing in inter-organism communications
  • Each communication action / behaviour is determined by earlier communication behaviours, which are selected to be referenced by the current communication behaviour
  • E.g., courtship or fighting behaviour in animals
multi organism systems 1
Multi-organism systems – 1
  • Organisms act as communication units by performing communication behaviours
  • The communications are frequent and generate a dense communication cluster surrounded by rare communications with other organism communication units
  • E.g., a community of dogs, which communicate more frequently with other dogs than with other animals
multi organism systems 2
Multi-organism systems – 2
  • Small systems: courtship, fighting, offspring raising
  • Large systems: ant and bee colonies, human society
human individuals
Human individuals
  • Organism with many subsystem
  • Has information subsystem – nervous system
  • Has information subsystem of the nervous system – memory
  • Long-term memory and mind
mind and language
Mind and language
  • Mind = information subsystem of the nervous system, generated by the double contingency of ‘who am I’
  • Language of mind: discussing about itself – ‘who am I’
subsystems of the nervous system
Subsystems of the nervous system
  • Visual, auditory, motor, etc. subsystems
  • Information subsystem: memory processing – associative subsystems
language subsystems
Language subsystems
  • Language understanding subsystem: Wernicke area
  • Language behaviour production subsystem: Broca area (speech production)
behavioural language
Behavioural language
  • Animals: courtship, fighting, body language, vocalisation
  • Humans: facial gestures, body language, vocalisation, speech
behavioural society
Behavioural society
  • System of behavioural communications between animals
  • E.g., ants, bees, monkeys, dogs
memories of behaviours
Memories of behaviours
  • Human language – long-term memory
  • Memories of behaviours  long-term memory  communications about long-term memories  human language
  • Memories of behavioural communications  communications between such memories
  • System of verbal inter-human communications
human communications 1
Human communications – 1
  • Words: sequences of phonemes
  • Sentences: sequences of words
  • Communications: set of sentences
human communications 2
Human communications – 2
  • Rules of phoneme consecutiveness: very sharp conditional distributions
  • Rules of word consecutiveness: grammar of the language
  • Rules of large scale communications: semantic rules of referencing between sentences
the system of human communications
The system of human communications
  • Human communications referencing other human communications
  • Dense cluster of communications with rare communications around (e.g., communications with a dog)
  • Society = system of human communications
actions of the society
Actions of the society
  • Sequence of human communications that induce actions of humans (communication units) on the environment
  • E.g., calling closer another human or executing a scientific experiment
perceptions of the society
Perceptions of the society
  • Environment induced changes in communication units (humans) induce human communications
  • Such communications may differ from the most expected ones conveying perceptions for the society system
meaningful communications
Meaningful communications
  • Reference other human communications and are referenced by others following the continuation rules of human communications
  • Contribute to the reproduction / maintenance and expansion of the society system
  • E.g., gossiping
meaningless communications
Meaningless communications
  • Communications that lead to communications that cannot be referenced
  • Such communications are about paradoxes, i.e. case when it is impossible to decide whether the communication is correct or not according to the rules of communications
  • The correctness refers to the semantic correctness not to the grammar or word phoneme order (these are very sharply defined)
faults errors and failures
Faults, errors and failures
  • Faulty communication: ‘ratulleps’, ‘cat the ate big the mouse’, ‘she was blonde with blue eyes, so it was running around the table, and the cherries were really ripe’ – senseless communications
  • Error: the politician makes his big speech and the people leave quietly the room, without responding or commenting on his speech – communications are correct and follow the rules, but they don’t have the expected continuation
  • Failure: lack of reliable communications lead to weak performance and falling apart of the company
memory human memories
Memory – human memories
  • Records of human communications
  • Reproduction of earlier verbal communications
  • E.g., re-told stories about heroes, rituals, customs
memory human artefacts
Memory – human artefacts
  • Human communications (including behaviours) lead to the production of human artefacts
  • E.g. arrow, pot, clothes, painting, sculpture, earring
  • Production of such artefacts needs the reproduction of human behaviours leading to them – they facilitate the reproduction of these behaviours
  • Human artefacts also facilitate the reproduction of a range of other human behaviours and communications related to their use
  • Such artefacts can be considered as forms of human society memories
  • Counting of artefacts – core of human memories about human artefacts
  • Counting  Writing – accounting in early human societies
  • Writing produces records of human communications (including behaviours)
  • Writing can facilitate the reproduction of memorized communications
information subsystem
Information subsystem
  • Processing of memories about human communications
  • Information subsystem of the society: human communications about the identity of the social system
  • Rely on human memories, human artefacts, and in particular on written text
  • The identity of social systems is defined by their information subsystem
  • Identity: which rituals are correct and which are incorrect, which forms and reports are in the right format, who is human who is not (see barbarians)
  • E.g. tribes, companies, groups of friends
reproduction of the society
Reproduction of the society
  • Generation of new communications that fit into the society system
  • Acquiring new communication units: reproduction of human organisms, attracting new humans to participate in the system of society
many societies
Many societies
  • A society is defined by its communications that are built using the society’s language
  • Each human language defines a society
  • Societies may compete for communication units
  • E.g., multi-ethnic societies
subsystems of societies
Subsystems of societies
  • Specialized human communications dealing with some part of the society
  • Subsystems have an apparent function within the system of society
  • E.g., political system – power distribution, science system – scientific knowledge production
  • Providing the communication rule knowledge to humans
  • Socialisation
  • E.g., schools, family education
family education
Family education
  • Basic socialisation: kids learn a language, its use and related behaviours
  • Part of education, especially in early human societies
  • Systematic education of kids about advanced knowledge that they refer to in their life, while deriving their communications
  • E.g., teaching math, physics, biology
the reproduction subsystem
The reproduction subsystem
  • Education deals with reproduction of communications that provide the foundation for the future expansion of the society communications
  • Education forms a subsystem of the society that deals with the reproduction of common knowledge
  • Common knowledge: usually referred by many human communications within the society
un common knowledge
Un-common knowledge
  • Society communications may lead to paradoxes in semantic terms
  • E.g., fire for early societies which didn’t know the use of fire
  • Dealing with such problems is essential to eliminate their damaging effect
  • The un-common knowledge deals with such problems
  • E.g., the gods bring the fire
  • The religion contains the un-common knowledge
  • It provides explanations of common knowledge paradoxes fitting these into the system of society
  • The religion is a specialist subsystem of the society, dealing with the un-common knowledge
scientific knowledge
Scientific knowledge
  • Communications that can be referred in the society system, of which correctness (i.e., whether they are part or not of the society) is verified experimentally
  • Experimental check: action, predicted perception, checked prediction
  • E.g., physics, chemistry
scientific common and un common knowledge
Scientific, common, and un-common knowledge
  • A good part of science is not part of common knowledge
  • Science competes with the system of un-common knowledge
  • A part of science is integrated into common knowledge by expansion of the education system (see universities)
the language of science
The language of science
  • Reduced human language with more specific rules, with sharper continuation distributions
  • The communications are about whether a communications can be proven to be correct or not by some experimental validation or by referring to proven communications
actions and perceptions of science
Actions and perceptions of science
  • Actions: experimental check or set of references to earlier proven communications
  • Perceptions: communications generated after the execution of the experiment or references that trigger new scientific communications
meaningful and meaningless
Meaningful and meaningless
  • Meaningful: something that fits into the experimentally validatable / falsifiable context
  • Meaningless: communications that lead to invalid or experimentally un-checkable communications – faulty science communications
  • E.g., religious communications
errors and failures in science
Errors and failures in science
  • Error: Lysenko’s genetics – followed general rules of science, but it was based on wrong premises and had no continuation
  • Failure: alchemy – based on wrong premises, using wrong rules
adaptation in science
Adaptation in science
  • Identity: scientific communications can be validated experimentally or by logical reasoning – anything that doesn’t fit this is not part of science
  • Identity violations  adaptation
  • E.g. relativity theory, quantum theory, importance of non-coding RNAs, object oriented theory of computer programs
  • Kuhn: revolutionary and standard science
education religion and science
Education, religion and science
  • Education  religion, education  science, religion  science
  • Education communications also reference science (mostly) and religious (to much less extent) communications – religion and science influence the education system
identity and identity violation in the education system
Identity and identity violation in the education system
  • Identity: education communications are those which lead to the reproduction of human memories required for production of social communications that reproduce and expand the society
  • Identity violations – depend on social context: induction of within-society hatred, education about irrelevant knowledge like leninism, education about the uselessness and unimportance of education – see cultural revolution in China
adaptation in the education system
Adaptation in the education system
  • New forms of education in response to lack of expected large volume continuation of communications – e.g. trade schools, generalised elementary education, formal graduate schools
  • Review of educational textbooks in response to changes in science – e.g. biology – recently, physics – in the past
  • Reorganisation of university departments in response to failure of them to attract students, who are required for the reproduction of education system communications – e.g. physics, chemistry and philosophy departments
summary 1
Summary – 1
  • Multi-organism systems
  • Humans: nervous system, brain, mind
  • Human communications and language
  • Society = system of human communications
  • Information subsystem and identity
summary 2
Summary – 2
  • Education – reproduction subsystem of common knowledge
  • Religion – the subsystem of uncommon knowledge
  • Science – the subsystem of scientific knowledge
  • Identity violations and adaptation
q a 1
Q&A – 1
  • Is it true that a limb movement can be considered as a sequence of communication patterns between the cells of an organism ?
  • Is it true that hunting a prey is a set of communications that constitute a communication system ?
  • Is it true that the communications between ants constitute the ant society/colony system ?
q a 2
Q&A – 2

4. Is it true that the humans communicate within themselves about their own identity forming the system of the mind ?

5. Is it true that there is no specialized brain area for production of human speech ?

6. Is it true that human language communications constitute the human society ?

7. Is it true that the communications between a human and its dog is part of the society ?

q a 3
Q&A – 3

8. Is it true that education deals with the reproduction of communications making up the un-common knowledge ?

9. Is it true that religious communications are meaningless in the system of science ?

10. Is it true that the actions of science are sequences of human communications resulting in scientific experiments ?