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A Definition of Emergence:

The concept of emergence (with us since 1875 via G.H. Lewes) is central to theories of complex systems. However, Corning (2005) notes that “contradictory opinions abound” and there is “no universally acknowledged definition of emergence”. Consequently, we will use the definition provided by Goldstein in the inaugural edition of emergence as...


“...the arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties during the process of self-organization in complex systems. Emergent phenomena are conceptualized as occurring on the macro-level, in contrast to the micro-level components and processes out of which they arise”.    


Goldstein adds that a common property is “Radical Novelty: ...


...emergents have features that are not previously observed in the complex system under observation. This novelty is the source of the claim that features of emergents are neither predictable nor deducible from lower or micro-level components. In other words, radically novel emergents are not able to be anticipated in their full richness before they actually show themselves”.



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