World Ordering: A Social Theory of Cognitive Evolution

World Ordering: A Social Theory of Cognitive Evolution

by Emanuel Adler


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Drawing on evolutionary epistemology, process ontology, and a social-cognition approach, this book suggests cognitive evolution, an evolutionary-constructivist social and normative theory of change and stability of international social orders. It argues that practices and their background knowledge survive preferentially, communities of practice serve as their vehicle, and social orders evolve. As an evolutionary theory of world ordering, which does not borrow from the natural sciences, it explains why certain configurations of practices organize and govern social orders epistemically and normatively, and why and how these configurations evolve from one social order to another. Suggesting a multiple and overlapping international social orders' approach, the book uses three running cases of contested orders - Europe's contemporary social order, the cyberspace order, and the corporate order - to illustrate the theory. Based on the concepts of common humanity and epistemological security, the author also submits a normative theory of better practices and of bounded progress.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108412674
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/07/2019
Series: Cambridge Studies in International Relations Series , #150
Pages: 394
Product dimensions: 6.02(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

Emanuel Adler is the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Chair of Israeli Studies and Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, and Honorary Professor at the University of Copenhagen. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the European Academy of Sciences. His publications include Security Communities (co-edited with Michael Barnett, Cambridge, 1998) and International Practices (co-edited with Vincent Pouliot, Cambridge, 2011).

Table of Contents

Prologue. The crux of the matter; Part I. Social Constructivism as Cognitive Evolution: 1. Samurai crabs and international social orders; 2. Evolutionary ontology: from being to becoming; 3. Evolutionary epistemology; 4. Practices, background knowledge, communities of practice, social orders; Part II. Cognitive Evolution Theory and International Social Orders: 5. International social orders; 6. Cognitive evolution theory: social mechanisms and processes; 7. Agential social mechanisms; 8. Creative variation; 9. Selective retention; 10. Better practices and bounded progress; Epilogue: world ordering.

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