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Front. Sociol. | doi: 10.3389/fsoc.2018.00002

Can lawlike rules emerge without the intervention of legislators?

  • 1University of Koblenz and Landau, Germany

The paper shows that in an artificial society lawlike rules emerge “as a result of individual action but without being designed by any individual” agents [Hay44, p. 288] and discusses earlier literature on the topic. The first example which this paper uses is an artificial society of car drivers moving between their homes and their working places on streets with two lanes crossing each other at right angles. Car drivers start using the left or right lane of the street at random and continue to use the same side of the street until they are stopped by an oncoming car. In this occasion one them decides to change to the other side of the street, taking into account which side of the street is used by the locally visible majority. This very simple behaviour usually results in a society- wide applied rule: always using the same side of the street. How long it takes for all car drivers to abide by the emerged rule (and how many, if not all, apply the rule) depends on the density of traffic and the range of vision of the car drivers as well as on the distance the cars went. A second example of emerging rule-consistent behaviour discussed in the pa- per and analysed with different mathematical and computational methods is de- rived from a model of the the emergence of aggression aversion extended to a model of the emergence of a rule against theft and of a rule in favour of almsgiv- ing. In this model agents receive comments on their theft and alms related actions and form a normative board which controls their propensity to act with respect to theft, prosecuting and punishing theft, asking for and granting alms. This model shows an emerging ant-theft norm whose salience among the agents increases in a rapid transition after a fairly long initial phase during which theft is more or less tolerated.

Keywords: Artificial society, emergence, Lawgiver, simulation, Road traffic, Theft, eigth commandment

Received: 26 Oct 2017; Accepted: 02 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Nicola Lettieri, Istituto nazionale per l’analisi delle politiche pubbliche (INAPP), Italy

Reviewed by:

Stephen Turner, University of South Florida, United States
Federico Cecconi, Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione (ISTC) - CNR, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Troitzsch. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Klaus G. Troitzsch, University of Koblenz and Landau, Koblenz, Germany,