First life (1998)
A typical emergence stylized diagram, showing the model that “life” emerged 3.8 billion years ago, via some unstated mechanism, per citation of dating bacteria fossils, and that “consciousness” emerged, as an emergent property, some 200 million years ago, per citation of John Eccles (1992). [16]
In science, emergence is a theory that meaningful order can "emerge" all on its own, spontaneously, in complex systems made of many interacting parts. [1]

“We chemists perceive the origin of life as a chemical process. How did that chemistry begin? I believe the answer will be found in the realm of physics, and more specifically biophysics, defined as the physical processes associated with the living state. The chemistry of life only became possible after certain physical processes permitted specific chemical reactions to occur. Life can emerge where physics and chemistry intersect. I used the word ‘emerge’, [here] which increasingly influences how scientists think about the origin of life. In common usage, ‘emergence’ is an unexpected happening, as in an emergency. ‘Emergence’ is not being used in science to connote the process by which a physical or chemical process becomes more complex under the influence of energy. There is a certain mysterious quality to the word’s use in this regard because the emergent property is typically unexpected and cannot be predicted. Emergence is the opposite of reductionism, in which everything is believed to be explainable by understanding ever simpler components of a system.”
— David Deamer (2011), First Life [17]

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The following 1992 statement by Steven Weinberg is good example of the anti-emergence position: [18]

“The question of emergence: is it really true that there are new kinds of laws that govern complex systems? Yes, of course, in the sense that different levels of experience call for description and analysis in different terms. The same is just as true for chemistry as for chaos. But fundamental new kinds of laws? Gleick’s lynch mob provides a counterexample.”

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Early History
The history of the usage of the term emergence or emergent seems isolated to discussions concerning the origin of the mind in the evolution sense of the matter.

English philosopher John Mill, in his 1843 A System of Logic, according to American anthropological neuroscientist Terrence Deacon, is said to give the first proto-outline of the emergence argument that the "neutral" properties of acid-base reacted compounds, table salt in particular, differ substantially from the acidic/basic toxic nature of the individual compounds; though Mills, to note, did not use the term emergence or emergent. [12]

English philosopher George Lewes, in his 1875 Problems of Life and Mind, used the term emergent: [7]

“Every resultant is either a sum or a difference of the co-operant forces; their sum, when their directions are the same—their difference, when their directions are contrary. Further, every resultant is clearly traceable in its components, because these are homogeneous and commensurable. It is otherwise with emergents, when, instead of adding measurable motion to measurable motion, or things of one kind to other individuals of their kind, there is a co-operation of things of unlike kinds. The emergent is unlike its components insofar as these are incommensurable, and it cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference.”

Lewes, in his views here, supposedly, was influenced by Mill. [11]

Likewise, English science philosopher Charlie Broad (1887–1971), described as “arguably the most astute of British emergentists”, in his 1925 The Mind and its Place in Nature, spoke of the characteristic properties of silver chloride as being emergent properties:

“No doubt the properties of silver chloride are completely determined by those of silver and of chlorine; in the sense that whenever you have a whole composed of these two elements in certain proportions and relations you have something which the characteristic properties of silver chloride.”

Moreover, one of the top key terms in Broad's book is "emergent materialism". [8] This bonded atoms have new properties point of view, however, is nothing but a superficial ontic opening pass at an attempt to explain the mind in the context of the periodic table and the laws of hard physical science.
An overview of emergence, from the dissipative structures perspective, written by Belgium pharmaceutical toxicologist Jacques de Gerlache. [6]

We might be quick to dismiss Broad as being ignorant of the physical sciences, being that he was not well-schooled in physical chemistry and thermodynamics, but then we would be hard-pressed to dismiss American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis who that very same year, in his 1925 Anatomy of Science (§7: Non-Mathematical Sciences), in defense of his self-query as to whether him writing a book is nothing but a chemical reaction or conversely if crystals thinks, defends the absurdity of both positions by taking recourse in autocatalysis (perpetual motion) the second emergence: [9]

“Suppose that this hypothetical experiment could be realized, which seems not unlikely, and suppose we could discover a whole chain of phenomena [evolution timeline], leading by imperceptible gradations form the simplest chemical molecule to the most highly developed organism [human molecule]. Would we then say that my preparation of this volume [Anatomy of Science] is only a chemical reaction [extrapolate up approach], or, conversely that a crystal is thinking [extrapolate down approach] about the concepts of science?”

This is all a very excellent Hegelian dialectic juxtaposition of the issues: how do we defining "thinking" if all phenomena is only variations of atomic structures? Is Lewis himself nothing but an "complex chemical molecule" that has evolved from imperceptible gradations form "simple chemical molecules"? Lewis then answers his own questions (similar to the way, in modern times, many jump to the label of human chemistry or human thermodynamics as “crackpot”) by commenting:

Nothing could be more absurd, and I once more express the hope that in attacking the infallibility of categories I have not seemed to intimate that they are the less to be respected because they are not absolute. The interaction between two bodies is treated by methods of mechanics; the interaction of a billion such bodies must be treated by the statistical methods of thermodynamics.”
Emergence (2009 poster)
A 2009 "emergence" seminar poster.

He then jumps to the “emergence” point of view solution to the origin of life (his italics):

“They are the same bodies and presumably follow the same behavior, but a great group of new phenomena emerges when we study an immense number, and by this we must mean merely that phenomena appear that never would have been recognized of dreamed of if the two bodies alone had been studied.”

Emergence, according to another definition, is the process of what happens when an interconnected system or relatively simple elements self-organizes to form more intelligent, more adaptive higher-level behavior. [2] This version of emergence is captured well by American philosopher Christian de Quincey: [5]

“Whenever we encounter a clash of ontologies attempting to explain the mind-body relationship, the issue of emergence is always in the background, if not actually the central issue of the debate. Materialists claim, for example, that consciousness emerges through evolution from insentient matter; emanationists idealists say that multiplicity of forms emerge from the onvolution of spirit; the panexperientialists say that different qualities of experience and consciousness evolve and emerge at different levels of complexity; whereas only dualists avoid the issue of emergence altogether because for them the mind belongs in a completely different ontological domain.”

In other words, the term emergence, similar to complexity, is loosely used as a subtle way of saying ‘I don’t know’, generally speaking.

Recent history
American physicist Philip Anderson’s 1972 article “More is Different”, wherein he addressed the controversy surrounding the reductionist hypothesis, is often cited as certain physical properties, e.g. solid state forms of matter, emerge at higher levels of organization. [13]

In 2000, American physicist Robert Laughlin, in his “The Theory of Everything”, elaborates on Anderson's views, and promots a “protected states” theory of emergence, according to which there is a certain insulation between levels of physical dynamics. [14] In 2005, Laughlin published A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down, wherein he argues for emergence as a replacement for reductionism, but a book that is not much expanded beyond his 2000 article. [15]

In 2002, American biochemist (powered chnops-chemist) Harold Morowitz, in his The Emergence of Everything, outlines over twenty "emergences". [10]

The subject of emergence is often found interwoven with thermodynamics, being that the latter studies order and disorder in terms of energy and entropy. In 2003, American mathematician Steven Strogatz gave his summary of the understanding of connection of the two, emergence and thermodynamics, in modern science: [3]

“Scientists have long been baffled by the existence of spontaneous order in the universe. The laws of thermodynamics seem to dictate the opposite, that nature should inexorably degenerate toward a state of disorder, greater entropy. Yet all around us we see magnificent structures—galaxies, cells, ecosystems, human beings—that have somehow managed to assemble themselves. This enigma bedevils all of science today. The key to unlocking the mysteries of self-organization, according to Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine and his colleagues, lies in a deeper understanding of thermodynamics, where emergence of order is a victorious uphill battle against entropy, as a complex system feeds itself on energy flowing in from the environment.”

In 2008, Swiss mathematician Claes Johnson argued that computational thermodynamics, based on his own Euler equation type formulation of the first two laws, could explain emergence. [4]

See also

1. Buchanan, Mark. (2002). Nexus: Small Worlds, and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks, (pg. 198, 207). W.W. Norton & Co.
2. Johnson, Steven. (2001). Emergence: the Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software, (front-matter, pg. 52). Scribner.
3. Strogatz, Steven. (2003). Sync - the Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order, (pgs. 1, 125, 287). New York: Theia.
4. (a) Hoffman, Johan and Johnson, Claes. (2008). Computational Thermodynamics (PDF), Applied mathematics: Body & Soul, Vol. 5., 217-pages, Aug. 14.
(b) Second Law of Thermodynamics (Section: Emergence) – Knol by Claes Johnson.
5. De Quincey, Christian. (2002). Radical Nature: Rediscovering the Soul of Matter (pg. 183). Invisible Cities Press.
6. Jacques de Gerlache (biography) (French → English) –
7. Lewes, George H. (1875). Problems of Life and Mind (First Series) (pg. 412), 2, London: Trübner.
8. (a) Broad, C.D. (1925). The Mind and its Place in Nature (pgs. 61-64). Routledge & Kegan Paul.
(b) Kim, Jaegwon. (2010). Essays in the Metaphysics of Mind (pg. #). Oxford University Press.
(c) C.D. Broad – Wikipedia.
9. Lewis, Gilbert N. (1925). The Anatomy of Science (§7: Non-Mathematical Sciences), Silliman Lectures; Yale University Press, 1926.
10. (a) Morowitz, Harold. (2002). The Emergence of Everything: How the World Became Complex. Oxford University Press.
(b) Deacon, Terrence W. (2011). Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (pg. 145). W.W. Norton & Co.
11. Deacon, Terrence W. (2011). Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (pg. 148). W.W. Norton & Co.
12. (a) Mill, John S. (1843). A System of Logic, Ratiocination and Inductive: Being a Connected View of the Principles of Evidence and the Methods of Scientific Investigation (salt, pg. 110, 294-95, 340). Harper & Brothers, 1904.
(b) Deacon, Terrence W. (2011). Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (pg. 148, 199-200). W.W. Norton & Co.
13. (a) Anderson, Philip. (1972). “More is Different”, Science, 177(4047):393.
(c) Deacon, Terrence W. (2011). Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (pg. 200). W.W. Norton & Co.
(d) The Physics of Emergence –
14. (a) Laughlin, Robert B. and Pines, David. (2000). “The Theory of Everything”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97(1):28-31.
(b) Laughlin, Robert B., Pines, D., Schalian, J. Stojoivic, B.P., and Woyles, P. (2000). “The Middle Way”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97(1):32-37.
(d) Deacon, Terrence W. (2011). Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (pg. 200). W.W. Norton & Co.
15. Laughlin, Robert B. (2005). A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down. Basic Books.
16. (a) Hamermoff, Stuart R. (1998). “Did Consciousness Cause the Cambrian Evolutionary Explosion?”, in: Toward a Science of Consciousness II (§37:421-37) (Ѻ). MIT Press.
(b) Margulis, Lynn and Sagan, Dorion. (1995). What is Life? University of California Press.
(c) Eccles, John C. (1992). “Evolution and Consciousness”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 89(16):7320-24.
17. Dreamer, David. (2011). First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began (emerge, pg. 2). University of California Press.
18. Weinberg, Steven. (1992). Weinberg, Steven. (1992). Dreams of a Final Theory: the Scientist’s Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature (pg. 62). Random House.

External links
Emergence – Wikipedia.

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