Harald Morowitz
The Emergence of Everything

How the World became Complex
Oxford 2002


1 This book on emergence deals with ways of thinking that are new under the sun: fresh perspectives are looking at the world that are accompanying the computer revolution, a new willingness of scientists to deal with complexity, and the very construct of emergence that provides a clue as to how novelty can come to be in a very old universe. Something new and exciting is taking place in analytical thought, and it promises different ways of looking at philosophy, religion, and worldview.

7 The often understated philosophy of science was based in its various forms on starting with observation, developing theoretical explanations of the observations, and using these to predict other observations. The success or failure of the predictions provided the epistemological roots of any science. The paradigms example of this kind of signs with the study of the solar system, where future trajectories of planets could be predicted with great accuracy. The social and cognitive disciplines were viewing in a totally different domain than the physical and chemical sciences. Biology stood between them, looking in one direction towards chemistry and then the other two would ethology and anthropology.

9 the subject of the epistemology of science: „How do we know?“This kind of enquiry had been established by Kant in his critiques. It has not been a popular subject in science, and less so in religion where knowledge by faith is the ultimate test. I consider epistemology crucial to our understanding.

In science we start with the immediately given, the sense data that are of course the contents of minds. From the sense data that are shapes, colours, sounds, feels, we develop theoretical constructs such a solid objects, atoms, electrons, and probability waves. The constructs are not the incompletely knowable „thing in itself“, but deal with the contents of our minds. Science starts with a mind, both the perceiver of sensations and the postulator of constructs. Science also assumes a community of minds who can agree on the sense data and the verifiability of consequences of the constructs. Regardless of one's philosophical position, science begins with a mind and is a public activity.

9 A sharp distinction is often drawn between the immediately given sensory inputs and the rational constructs. These distinctions are quite fuzzy, and the mind operates with both, often without a sharp distinction to that observations already have a theoretical component, and constructs are often not far from the immediately given. This need not cause philosophical problems; the world is what the world is. The clear distinction between mind and nature simply does not exist.






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