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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A handy primer on the concept of emergence...

....can be found here.

tip of the hat to Prester John from IIDB


  • you know, i've never really understood what the arguments from the rules of the game of life are supposed to show. dan dennett has very strenuously tried to use the game to show how easy it is for complexity to arise from simplicity, life from non-life, free will from rules; this has always seemed to me to be a case where the heuristic metaphor is more complicated (or misleading) than the thing to be taught.

    maybe you can help me. is emergence just supposed to show that complex `objects' can arise from simple rules of interaction? or, instead, is it a claim about our perception of objects? (we see the gliders as persisting objects, for example, even though they're just pixels turning on and off and even though the same pixels do not turn on and off as the glider drifts across the lifeworld.)

    if emergence is supposed to show the first point, i'm skeptical that it will be very convincing to many people; the connections between the life game and `real life' are just too abstract and metaphorical to be convincing, especially to someone who has a prior disposition towards skepticism.

    By Blogger randall, at 7/23/2005 07:15:00 PM  

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