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Evolution of Complex Systems Lecture 8: Politics and law Peter Andras / Bruce Charlton peter.andras@ncl.ac.uk bruce.charlton@ncl.ac.uk Objectives Society Information subsystem: political system Politics Information subsystem of politics: the legal system The legal system

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evolution of complex systems

Evolution of Complex Systems

Lecture 8: Politics and law

Peter Andras / Bruce Charlton



  • Society
  • Information subsystem: political system
  • Politics
  • Information subsystem of politics: the legal system
  • The legal system
  • Adaptation in the political and legal systems
human communications
Human communications
  • Specialized behavioural patterns: human language
  • Specialized brain subsystems: language understanding and production
  • Human languages
  • Many organisms act as communication units
  • Society = system of communications between organisms
  • Human society = system of human communications
  • Human languages define human societies
politics early times
Politics – early times
  • Tribes: everybody participates in the decision making
  • E.g., what to do (hunt, move, etc.), how to interpret the environment (flooding, attack by animals, etc.)
  • Tribe leaders lead the decision making process
politics advanced tribes
Politics – advanced tribes
  • E.g., large migratory tribes (huns, gepides, etc.)
  • Fighters (action), priests/shamans (perception) specialize in decision making
politics early states
Politics – early states
  • Egypt, Greek city states, etc.
  • Fighters, priests, administrators
  • Administration: system of rules about decision making (e.g., selection of the ruler)
politics early large states
Politics – early large states
  • E.g., Rome, China
  • Large and stable
  • Elaborated rules of politics
  • Large administration
politics large integrated states
Politics – large integrated states
  • E.g., England – 17th-18th century, Germany – 19th century, France – 17th-18th century
  • Complicated system of political decision making
  • Institutionalized and uniform legal system
  • Parliament, parties, public administration
politics democratic states
Politics – democratic states
  • E.g., US, north-west Europe
  • Parties, elections, rule of law
  • Constitution, professional large public administration
politics 1
Politics – 1
  • Description of the system of human communications
  • Description of how to manage memories of human communications
  • E.g., describes how to interpret environmental events, how to act, how to allocate resources (communications) within the society
politics 2
Politics – 2
  • Actions: what to do, how to distribute human resources
  • E.g., where to build what
politics 3
Politics – 3
  • Perception: collecting information about what is happening in the society / environment
  • E.g., collecting and interpreting information about the natural resources
political power
Political power
  • Power: decide on actions and perceptions
  • Power: ability to determine what should be referenced in the context of communications about resources
  • Power: the logic of selection of methods to manage memories of a human society
communications in politics 1
Communications in politics – 1
  • Politician talk: subset of society
  • Everybody participates
  • E.g., voting in elections, participation in political organizations, meetings, etc.
communications in politics 2
Communications in politics – 2
  • Specialist language: sharper communication rules
  • The sentences should be relevant from the point of view of power: who does what – action & perception / interpretation
referencing in politics
Referencing in politics
  • Political communications reference mostly to other political communications
  • E.g., the voting communications refences earlier political communications by party representatives
the logic of power
The logic of power
  • Communications in politics follow the logic of power
  • Does the communication lead to more power, preservation of power, avoiding the reduction of power – in expectation
  • Political communications – communications that can be understood in the context of logic of power
political system
Political system
  • All social communications organized around the logic of power
  • Communications that follow the referencing rules of politics, referencing rules are determined by the logic of power
  • Communications about the society and power: information subsystem of the society
  • Logic of power – definition of the identity of the political system
the boundary of politics
The boundary of politics
  • Dense communications / referencing within politics / rare referencing to non-political communications
  • The boundary is determined by the logic of power, communications are part of politics if they follow the logic of power
actions of politics
Actions of politics
  • Political communication patterns that act upon the environment / society
  • E.g., set of political communications leading to the building of a highway
perceptions of politics
Perceptions of politics
  • Changes in the political communications with respect to expectations
  • E.g., local power talk leads to changing voting behaviour in an MP
meaningful communications
Meaningful communications
  • References other political communications
  • Provides reference for further political communications
  • Follows the rules of political communications – fits the identity of the political system
meaningless communications
Meaningless communications
  • Communications that do not lead to continuations – faults
  • E.g., anarchist communications
  • Communications about power but do not follow the established continuation rules of the actual political system – error
  • E.g., revolutionary politics in 1917
extension and reproduction
Extension and reproduction
  • Political communications are generated to maintain/reproduce and expand the political system
  • The system boundaries are within the society
  • Overgrowing is bad
  • The political system should fit the society that is described by it
over expansion of politics
Over expansion of politics
  • Ignoring the general communication rules of the society
  • Domination of the society
  • E.g., communism, everything becomes a political issue
individuals and politics
Individuals and politics
  • Everybody performs as communication unit for the political system
  • The political communications of communications units may differ significantly (e.g., cast or class system)
  • There are some units which produce large amount of communications that are part of the political system  politicians
the state
The state
  • The organizational context of the political system – structural constraints on political communications
  • Makes politics more structured – sharpened continuation rules
  • Societies with elaborate states are likely to be more complex
professional politics
Professional politics
  • Communication units specializing in political communications
  • They follow the fine details of the political communication rules
  • They generate the largest part of the political system
  • E.g., parties, Parliament
political institutions
Political institutions
  • Institutions: systematic rule sets that channel political communications and provide meaning for them by making them reference the rules of the institution
  • Institution – coherent set of structure constraints
  • E.g., speech in the Parliament vs. speech at home
  • Political institutions compose the state
subsystems of politics
Subsystems of politics
  • Specialist political communications
  • They may form by the establishment of corresponding political institutions
  • The same institutional framework may lead to the formation of several subsystems
  • E.g., parties, Parliament, elections
  • Specialized political communications about power in some particular power paradigm (i.e., particular set of communication rules)
  • E.g., socialist, liberal, conservative
  • Parties develop together with ideologies
  • An institutional context for low level political communications; add content to simple communication acts (i.e., voting)
  • It is about choosing the best fitting identity of the society
  • Institutional framework for high level political communications
  • Parties are represented according to election results
  • The dominant party or coalition represents the currently valid interpretation of the society model by making legislation about the society and power distribution within the society
identity violations political system
Identity violations – Political system
  • Fault: communication that is aimed to be political communication but does not fit the logic of politics – e.g. a political speech about the right of penguins to wear guns
  • Error: lack of continuation of political communications – e.g. lack of public participation in elections
  • Failure: massive shrinking of the political system – e.g. revolution
adaptation political system
Adaptation – Political system
  • Would-be politicians with senseless speeches are marginalized within the party
  • The party changes its policies to gain more public support and more votes at elections
  • The parliament changes the legislation to fit changed interests of the society
  • The revolution leads to a new political system
  • Rules regulating the distribution of power
  • Reference actions and perceptions of the political system
  • Laws are made in the Parliament
  • E.g., laws regulating elections, highway constructions, penal procedures, etc.
  • Rules of power distribution in various organizations (e.g., schools, companies)
  • Refer to actions and perceptions of the power system of the organization
  • Constraints on political communications
legal communications
Legal communications
  • Communications about the rules of power distribution
  • They are descriptions of the political system
  • Describe how the power distribution / the political system works
  • Rights of participation in politics
  • Criminal justice
  • Disputes between neighbours
legal communications types
Legal communications - types
  • Making the laws
  • Interpreting the laws
  • Applying the laws
  • Complementing and modifying the laws
legal communications memories
Legal communications - memories
  • Legal communications describe how the political communications are organised – represent a memory of these communications and facilitate the reproduction of these communications
  • Legal communications (laws, regulations) are memory communications of the political system
the legal system
The legal system
  • Laws and communications about and referencing other laws
  • Legal system = the information subsystem of the political system
  • Legal logic: legal or illegal – identity of the legal system
legal system language
Legal system - language
  • System language defined by the applicability of the legal logic
  • A communication is part of the legal system if it can be assessed / referenced in legal / illegal terms
the boundary
The boundary
  • Dense communications / references to other legal communications
  • Rare references to other communications
  • E.g., lawyers, judges discussing the application and interpretation of the law
  • Legal communications that lead to changes of the model of power distribution; e.g., application of the law that solves a previously unresolved issue, new legislation
  • They should fit the logic of legal / illegal in the context of the existing legal system, refer to other communications (e.g., laws) and provide basis for new communications
  • Changes in the political system / power distribution system lead to changes in legal communications
  • These changes may trigger modified actions of the legal system
  • E.g., extension of voting rights
  • Communications that fit the legal system and contribute to further extension of it – fit the identity (logic) of the legal system
  • E.g., good application of laws, rule of law
  • Communications that do not fit the rules of the legal system
  • E.g., revolutionary legislation (confiscation of property), corrupt judicial process
  • Faulty communications, errors
  • Lead to the destruction of the legal system
individuals and the legal system
Individuals and the legal system
  • Everybody participates by having legal communications
  • E.g., buying a house
  • There are specialist communication units which do legal communications professionally, e.g., lawyers, judges
constitutional law
Constitutional law
  • The state is the institutional framework of politics (information subsystem of the society)
  • The state is described by the constitution
  • Constitutional law is the information subsystem of the legal system: describes how law making / changing happens
identity violation legal system
Identity violation – Legal system
  • Fault: wrong application of the laws – e.g. the judge decides that the money laundering CEO did not commit any crime
  • Error: lack of continuation of legally correct communications – e.g. fines are issued but not paid, and no consequence follows
  • Failure: revolution stops the application of laws
adaptation legal system
Adaptation – Legal system
  • Incorrect judicial decision is corrected after appeal
  • Legislation leading to ineffective fines is changed to eliminate the issuing of such fines
  • New laws are introduced to deal with emerging important cases
  • New legislation is adopted after revolution
summary 1
Summary – 1
  • Political communications
  • Logic of power – identity of the political system
  • Political system: information subsystem of the society
  • Political institutions
  • Problems related to politics – adaptation
summary 2
Summary – 2
  • Laws – Parliament
  • Legal communications
  • Legal system: information subsystem of the political system
  • Constitution
  • Identity violation and adaptation in the legal system
q a 1
Q&A – 1

1. Is it true that everybody participates in the political system ?

2. Is it true that the collection of census data is an action of the political system ?

3. Is it true that a new higher education policy is an action of the political system ?

4. Is it true that elections are meaningless in a democratic political system ? What about in a one-party system ?

q a 2
Q&A – 2

5. Is it true that parties are professional institutions in the political system ?

6. Is it true that political institutions add implicit meaning to communications by sharpening the continuation distributions ?

7. Is it true that judges create actions of the legal system ? Do they create also perceptions of it ?