The new sciences, self-organization and democracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Social scientists have argued recently that the theory and findings of the new sciences (quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and new evolutionary biology) corroborate the essences of liberal democracy. Specifically, scholars have argued that the new sciences' principle of self-organization is closely associated with the idea of individual liberty. This article traces the evolution of the new sciences' self-organization theory. It then argues that the effort to anchor liberal democracy in self-organization is misleading; that is to say self-organization behaviour neither depends on democracy nor does it culminate in democracy. It is also dangerous, because it absolves human agency from the need to protect the vulnerable institutions of liberal democracy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


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