Complexity science has important things to say about the commons, too, because it sees the world as a dynamic, evolving set of living, integrated systems.
Complexity science offers a more coherent way of explaining how functional design can emerge without a designer. Design happens as adaptive agents (such as commoners) interact with each other. The self-organization of agents — what we call “peer organization” in a commons — gives rise incrementally to complex organizational systems. There is no master blueprint or top-down, expert-driven knowledge behind the process. It emerges from agents responding to their own local, bounded circumstances.
Insights from complexity science help move beyond a Newtonian worldview of cause and effect to one that is holistic, nonlinear, and interactive.