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The Emergence of Order from Disorder as a Form of Self Organization

  • Author(s): Read, Dwight W
  • et al.
Abstract

Elaboration of individuation is one of the trends in primate evolution. Individuation makes it more difficult to maintain group coherency. Individuation as it occurs in the phylogenetic shift from the Cercopithecoids (Old World monkeys) to African pongids, especially Pan, appears to have passed a threshold with Pan reverting to smaller, less coherent groups of males and females as a way to deal with increased individuation. In contrast, hominid evolution displays a pattern of group coherency and cooperative behavior that arose in conjunction with the mental construction of relations among individuals that we refer to as genealogical relations. Genealogical relations transcend the limitation of biological kinship as a basis for group coherency, but the combinatorial complexity of all possible genealogical relations becomes problematic with increase in group size. The latter was resolved, it is argued, through the construction of acomputational system—a kinship terminology—whose conceptual complexity is independent of the size of a group. This shift to a conceptual/cultural foundation for group coherency changed the dynamics of societal change away from biologically grounded processes of change.

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