The paired opposite to reductionism is called emergentism, and in recent years it has begun to gain an increasing number of advocates. In summary, it means that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Unexpected behaviors and properties can emerge, even from simple well-understood parts, at high enough levels of organization… Some of the ways emergentists have proposed creating artificial intelligence include building or simulating artificial neural nets, or using quantum computers, which take advantage of wave-particle duality and superimposition to perform fuzzy logic. Others reject the entire idea of shortcuts to emulating human intelligence, in favor of simply duplicating the entire fine structure of the human brain in virtual form –something not possible today, but perhaps in the future.
Continuing our interview about Natural Kinds and Genesis: The Classification of Material Entities.
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Featuring Dylan Casey, Bill Burgess, Casey Fitzpatrick, Ernie Prabhakar, and Evan Gould. Recorded 12/20/13.
In this famous, 1972 paper, Anderson argues that the sciences don’t form a reductive whole — that chemistry isn’t applied physics and psychology isn’t applied biology — taking early aim at the conceits of the uber-reductionist elementary particle physicists. Part of his argument is an articulation of how the principles of symmetry-breaking make this non-reductionism clear in the physical world. We discuss all these matters trying to sort out Anderson’s claims and what we think of the evidence for them.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of discussing P.W. Anderson’s famous 1972 article More is Different as part of a PEL Not School study group on emergence with Not Schoolers Bill Burgess, Casey Fitzpatrick, Ernie Prabhakar, and Evan Gould. Anderson argues that the sciences don’t form a reductive whole — that chemistry isn’t applied physics and psychology isn’t applied biology — taking Continue Reading …
There’s lots of cool things going on in the PEL Not School discussion groups. To entice those of you that are interested in emergence to come check things out, I’ve proposed reading and discussing a short, interesting essay by the physicist P. W. Anderson called “More is Different: Broken Symmetry and the Hierarchical Nature of Science”. The essay itself is Continue Reading …