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DISCOURSE ON EMERGENCE: PART I (FOUNDATIONS)
 

Summary: 1
DISCOURSE ON EMERGENCE: PART I
(FOUNDATIONS)
The following paper is part one of a three-part treatise on the concept of emergence. The aim of this paper
is to establish the foundations of this concept via a review of the literature. First, a popular definition of
emergence is introduced and a brief historical background to the concept is described. Second, basic system-
theoretical concepts associated with modern formulations of the notion of emergence are presented. Third,
some phenomenological issues (concepts of emergence and types of emergent) are discussed. Finally, a
formal framework for emergence is examined and the distinction between emergent computation and
computational emergence is clarified.
KEY WORDS: Emergence, systems-theory, phenomenology, formalisms, computation
1. INTRODUCTION
Like the legendary phoenix rising from the flame, the concept of emergence has begun
to again enjoy popularity within scientific and philosophical discourse. A number of
factors have motivated reconsideration of this idea including renewed interest in
connectionist (as contrasted with symbolic) models of cognition (Clark,89), the
emergence of the discipline of artificial life with its bottom-up modeling methodology
(Langton,89), and, perhaps most significantly, the need to resolve the "hard problem"
of phenomenal consciousness (Chalmers,96). Yet, despite renewed interest, and in spite
of ubiquitous usage, the concept of emergence remains elusive, a fact which is marked

  

Source: Ali, Syed Mustafa - Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology, Open University

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences