Emergence: Distracting Notions and How to Get It Right


Ever since George Henry Lewes coined the term emergence, various notions have been associated with emergence that have little or nothing to do with emergence itself. These notions distract from the understanding of emergence to such a degree that very little progress was made in over a century of discussion. Emergence is the coming into existence of patterns-of-material-organization as a consequence of motion. The process of emergence plays major roles in the universe, such as the creation of the hierarchic organization of the material universe from quarks, atoms, and molecules to planets, solar systems, and galaxies. Typical discussions about emergence in the literature are about the distracting notions and not actually about emergence itself. This essay has three primary parts. First is discussion of the intrinsic nature of emergence. The second part explains why the distracting notions are not really about emergence. The third part gives an introduction to methods that can provide understanding of the process of emergence.

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