Synergy and the Evolution of Superorganisms: Past, Present, and Future

Peter A. Corning

in Holistic Darwinism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226116136
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226116334 | DOI:
Synergy and the Evolution of Superorganisms: Past, Present, and Future

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This chapter discusses the concept of superorganisms and its relation to synergy. The term was first used by polymath Herbert Spencer to characterize key properties of social organization in the natural world. He argued that the organismic analogy is justified by the existence of common functional properties at higher levels of biological organization, including functional differentiation and integration. This chapter argues that cybernetic processes are essential concomitants of superorganisms of all kinds and that this broad evolutionary perspective also applies to the ongoing political evolution of human societies, including the prospects for global governance.

Keywords: superorganisms; synergy; Herbert Spencer; social organization; functional differentiation; cybernetic processes; political evolution; global governance

Chapter.  11105 words. 

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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