Competition, Decision, and Consensus

  • Stephen Grossberg
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 70)


This chapter proves that all competitive systems which admit an adaptation level are absolutely stable. This theorem suggests an approach to an old philosophical problem: How can you design systems of communicators wherein each communicator is characterized by arbitrary individual differences, or personal parameters, each communicator knows about other communicators only through locally perceived signals, yet the communication system as a whole can generate a global consensus? How can the system as a whole achieve coherence even if its parts are carelessly thrown together? One answer is: “Balance the individual differences against an adaptation level”. In other words, if you design part of the system very carefully, you can let the rest go wild without sacrificing system stability. It seems to me that this type of insight should be generally better understood, notably in discussions of free market forces.


Cluster Point Oscillation Condition Competitive System Liapunov Function Global Consensus 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Grossberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsBoston UniversityUSA

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