Big history

Cliodynamics, deep history, big-picture history

December 18, 2018 — November 6, 2023

Figure 1

Placeholder for the increasing mathematization, formalisation and data-led approaches to history at a massive scale. I am not expert enough in any of these things for mentions to count as recommendations.

By big history I mean something briefer than the universal concerns of cosmology. I am open to big histories that include the history of all life, of all intelligence, or just of modern human institutions, depending on whim and grandiosity of theorist in question.

At this resolution, crackpottery is indistinguishable from bold theorising, so I will be permissive and inclusive in citations.

1 Energetics and thermodynamics

Smil (2019), Muthukrishna (2023), Salthe (2005).

2 With reference to singularity

See singularity, and Johansen and Sornette (2001).

3 Incoming

4 References

Bowles. 2004. Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution.
Bowles, Choi, and Hopfensitz. 2003. The Co-Evolution of Individual Behaviors and Social Institutions.” Journal of Theoretical Biology.
Choi, and Bowles. 2007. The Coevolution of Parochial Altruism and War.” Science.
Harari, Yuval. 2018. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
Harari, Yuval Noah. 2018. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.
Johansen, and Sornette. 2001. Finite-Time Singularity in the Dynamics of the World Population, Economic and Financial Indices.” Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications.
Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: The Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life. 2006.
Morris. 2011. Why the West Rules―for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future.
———. 2014. The Measure of Civilization: How Social Development Decides the Fate of Nations.
———. 2015. Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve. Edited by Stephen Macedo.
———. 2022. Geography Is Destiny: Britain and the World: A 10,000-Year History.
Muthukrishna. 2023. A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going.
Salthe. 1997. The Overall Pattern of the Evolution of Information in Dissipative, Material Systems.” World Futures.
———. 2005. Energy and semiotics: the Second Law and the origin of life.” Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy.
———. 2010. Development (and Evolution) of the Universe.” Foundations of Science.
Scott. 2017. Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States.
Smil. 2000. Energy in the Twentieth Century: Resources, Conversions, Costs, Uses, and Consequences.” Annual Review of Energy and the Environment.
———. 2008. Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems.
———. 2019. Energy in World History.
Tainter. 1988. The Collapse of Complex Societies.
———. 1995. Sustainability of Complex Societies.” Futures.
———. 2006. Archaeology of Overshoot and Collapse.” Annual Review of Anthropology.
Tainter, Allen, Little, et al. 2003. Resource Transitions and Energy Gain: Contexts of Organization.” Conservation Ecology.
Turchin. 2015. Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth.
———. 2018. Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall.
Turchin, and Hoyer. 2020. Figuring Out the Past: The 3,495 Vital Statistics that Explain World History.
Turchin, and Nefedov. 2009. Secular Cycles.