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Classic Publications on Complex, Evolving Systems

The following is a selection of the most cited publications on complex, evolving systems, including work in cybernetics, systems theory, evolutionary biology, self-organization, and complexity studies. Compared to the books and papers on cybernetics and systems, the following list is more up-to-date, puts more emphasis on evolution and self-organization, and includes a number of works which are not usually classified under cybernetics or systems theory. This bibliography is an extension of the one originally condensed out of the references for the Symposium "The Evolution of Complexity"

Each of these books and papers is selected to be both very important to the domain, and of high quality. They are therefore highly recommended for everybody working in the domain. The number of stars (*) denotes the relative importance in terms of the number of citations. For a discussion of the main contributions of the following authors and publications, see my paper "Classic Publications on Complex, Evolving Systems: a citation-based survey" .

The books with links below can be securely ordered and paid for over the web via, the largest bookstore on the Net. Note: although out-of-print books too can be ordered in this way, it may be quicker to try and locate them in a public library.

Anderson P. W., K. J. Arrow, and D. Pines (Eds.). The Economy as an Evolving Complex System, Addison-Wesley, Redwood City CA, 1988. **

Arthur, W. B.: Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-in by Historical Events, The Economic Journal 99: 1989, pp. 106-131. *

Arthur, W. B.: Positive Feedbacks in the Economy, Scientific American, February 1990, pp. 92-99. *

Arthur W. B. Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in the Economy, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1994.

Arthur W. B.: Bounded Rationality and Inductive Behavior (the El Farol Problem), American Economic Review 84, pp. 406-411, 1994.

Ashby W. R. An Introduction to Cybernetics, Methuen, London, 1964. **

Ashby W. R. Mechanisms of Intelligence: Writings of Ross Ashby, Intersystems, Salinas CA, 1981.

Ashby, W. R. Design for a Brain - The Origin of Adaptive Behaviour. Chapman and Hall, London, 1960.

Aulin A. The Cybernetic Laws of Social Progress, Pergamon, Oxford, 1982 *

Axelrod R. M. The Evolution of Cooperation, Basic Books, New York, 1984. *

Bak P. and Chen K.: Self-Organized Criticality, Scientific American: January 1991, pp. 46-53.

Bak P., Tang C., & Weisenfeld K.: Self-Organized Criticality. Physical Review A 38: 1988, pp. 364-374. *

Bak P., How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality, Springer, Berlin, 1996.

Bennett C. H. Dissipation, Information, Computational Complexity and the Definition of Organization. Emerging Syntheses in Science, Pines D. (ed.), Addison-Wesley, Redwood City CA, 1985, pp. 215-233. *

Boulding K. E. Ecodynamics: a new theory of societal evolution. Sage, London, 1978.

Campbell, D. T. Evolutionary epistemology. Evolutionary epistemology, rationality, and the sociology of knowledge, G. Radnitzky and W. W. Bartley (eds.), Open Court, La Salle IL, 1987, pp. 47-89.

Campbell, D. T. "Downward Causation" in Hierarchically Organized Biological Systems. Studies in the Philosophy of Biology, F.J. Ayala and T. Dobzhansky (eds), Macmillan, New York, 1974 .

Casti J.L. Complexification: explaining a paradoxical world through the science of surprise, HarperCollins, 1994.

Crutchfield, J., Farmer, J.D., Packard, N., and Shaw, R.: Chaos, Scientific American, 255 (6): December 1986, pp. 46-57.

Darwin C. The origin of species by means of natural selection or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. (Edited with and introduction by J W Burrow). Penguin classics, 1985. (First published by John Murray, 1859) *

Dawkins R. The selfish gene (2nd edition), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1989. **

Dawkins R. The Extended Phenotype: The Gene as a Unit of Selection, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1983. *

Dawkins R. The Blind Watchmaker, Longman, London, 1986. *

Eigen M. and P. Schuster. The Hypercycle: A principle of natural selforganization, Springer, Berlin, 1979 **

Eigen M., and R. Winkler-Oswatitsch. Steps Toward Life: a perspective on evolution. Oxford University Press, New York, 1992. *

Fisher R. A. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, 2nd edition, Dover Publications, New York, 1958.

Forrester, J. Industrial Dynamics, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1961.

Forrester, J. W. World Dynamics (2nd ed.), Wright-Allen Press, Cambridge, MA, 1973.

Gell-Mann, M., The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex, W.H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1994. *

Gleick, J. 1987. Chaos: Making of a New Science, Penguin Books, New York. *

Gould S.J., and N. Eldredge. 1977: Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered. Paleobiology 3, pp. 115-151.

Haken H. Synergetics, Springer, Berlin, 1978.

Holland J. H. 1992. Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems: An Introductory Analysis with Applications to Biology, Control and Artificial Intelligence, MIT Press, Cambridge MA. ***

Holland J.H. Hidden Order : How Adaptation Builds Complexity , Addison-Wesley 1996.

Holland J. H., Holyoak K. J., Nisbett R. E. & Thagard P. R. 1986 Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning and Discovery, MIT Press, Cambridge MA. *

Jantsch, E., The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution, Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1979.*

Kauffman S. A.: Antichaos and Adaptation, Scientific American: August 1991, pp. 78-84 **

Kauffman S. A. The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution, Oxford University Press, New York, 1993 ****

Kauffman S. A. At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995.

Langton C. G.: Computation at the Edge of Chaos: phase transitions and emergent computation, Physica D, 42, 1-3, pp. 12-37, 1990. *

Langton, C. G. (Ed.). Artificial Life: The Proceedings of an Interdisciplinary Workshop on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, Addison-Wesley, Redwood City CA, 1989. **

Langton, C. G., Taylor, C., Farmer, J.D., and Rasmussen, S. (Eds.). Artificial Life II: Proceedings of the Second Artificial Life Workshop, Addison-Wesley, Redwood City CA, 1992. *

Langton, C. G. (ed.), Artificial Life: An Overview, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995.

Mandelbrot B. B. The Fractal Geometry of Nature, Freeman, New York, 1983.

Maruyama M.: The Second Cybernetics: Deviation-Amplifying Mutual Causal Processes, American Scientist 51, No. 2: 1963, pp. 164-179.

Maturana H. R., & Varela F. J. The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Understanding, (rev. ed.), Shambhala, Boston, 1992. ***

Monod, J. Chance and Necessity, Collins, London, 1972.

Nicolis, G, and Prigogine, I. Self-Organization in Non-Equilibrium Systems, Wiley, New York, 1977. **

Nicolis, G. and I. Prigogine. Exploring Complexity, Freeman, New York, 1989.

Prigogine, I. and Stengers, I. Order Out of Chaos, Bantam Books, New York, 1984 ***

Prigogine, I. From Being to Becoming: Time and complexity in the physical sciences, Freeman, San Francisco, 1980.

Ray, T. S. An Approach to the Synthesis of Life. Artificial Life II, C. G. Langton et al. (Eds.), Addison-Wesley, Redwood City CA, 1992, pp. 371-408.

Shannon, C. E., and W. Weaver. The Mathematical Theory of Communication (5th ed.). University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 1963.

Simon, H. A. The Sciences of the Artificial (3rd. edition) MIT Press, Cambridge MA, 1996. **

Thom, R. Structural Stability and Morphogenesis, Benjamin, Reading MA, 1975.

Thompson, D. On Growth and Form, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1917.

Varela, F., Principles of Biological Autonomy, North Holland, New York, 1979.*

von Bertalanffy L. General Systems Theory (Revised Edition), George Braziller, New York, 1973. *

von Foerster H. On self-organising systems and their environments. Self-Organising Systems, M.C. Yovits and S. Cameron (Eds.), Pergamon Press, London, 1960, pp. 30-50. *

von Foerster H. and Zopf, G. (Eds.) Principles of Self-Organization, Pergamon, New York, 1962. *

von Foerster H. Observing Systems: Selected papers of Heinz von Foerster. Intersystems, Seaside, CA, 1981.

von Foerster H. Cybernetics of Cybernetics (2nd edition). Future Systems, Minneapolis, 1996. **

von Neumann J. Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata. (Ed. by A. W. Burks), Univ. of Illinois Press, Champaign, 1966. *

Waldrop M. M. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992. **

Wiener N. Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine M.I.T. Press, New York, 1961. **

Wolfram S. Cellular Automata and Complexity: Collected Papers, Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1994.

Zeleny M. (Ed.) 1981, Autopoiesis: A Theory of Living Organization, North Holland, New York.

Copyright© 1997 Principia Cybernetica - Referencing this page

F. Heylighen,

Mar 28, 1997 (modified)
Nov 6, 1996 (created)


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