It seems to me that "emergence" is just an empty phrase used to divert attention from the fact that we do't know what exactly is happening.Steve3007 wrote: ↑May 26th, 2019, 7:23 amI think this is one interesting passage from the article about emergence cited above:
"Robert Batterman (2002), who focuses on emergence in physics, also believes that emergent phenomena are common in our everyday experience of the physical world. According to Batterman, what is at the heart of the question of emergence is not downward causation or the distinctness of emergent properties, but rather inter-theoretic reduction and, specifically, the limits of the explanatory power of reducing theories. Thus, a property is emergent, according to this view, if it is a property of a complex system at limit values that cannot be derived from lower level, more fundamental theories. As examples of emergent phenomena Batterman cites phase transitions and transitions of magnetic materials from ferromagnetic states to paramagnetic states, phenomena in which novel behavior is exhibited that cannot be reductively explained by the more fundamental theories of statistical mechanics. However, Batterman wants to distinguish explanation from reduction and so claims that though emergent phenomena are irreducible they are not unexplainable per se because they can have non-reductive explanations."
It seems like a pretty good definition of emergence to tie it to the extent to which higher level theories can in practice be reduced to lower level theories. I emphasize "in practice" because, unless we depart from the principles of Science altogether, it's always possible to derive the higher from the lower in principle, or in theory. But, as the Chaos theorists emphasize, complexity and sensitive dependencies on small changes, and the barrier this places between the lower and higher level theories is a genuine physical phenomenon and not just a nuisance.
The unpredictability of long range weather forecasting (for example) is not just an annoying limitation of current measurement technology. It will always be there.
There is no particular reason that every causality that contributes to an "emergent" phenomenon should be known. That does not mean that it would not be better understood if we had more information or a better understanding of the physics behind it. Calling it "emergence" is a way to pretend we can describe what it going on as if "emergence" were meaningful, when in actuality we are really just ignorant of what it going on.
"Emergence" is more like a post-modern bit of flim-flam and an excuse not to pursue the hard labour of thinking required to unpack the phenomena and derive new laws to describe the universe.
We used to do this before the enlightenment, except we used to say "god did it"