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Emergence & Reductionism (Part 1)

SERIES: Emergence & Reductionism
AUTHOR: Jim Schofield


These papers contrast the pluralist tradition and methodology of Reductionism with the revolutionary and holistic nature of an Emergent Event. Using the Origin of Life on Earth as THE guide, the study of Emergences is commenced and the unpredictable new qualities generated are shown to be also irreducible to those at the immediate precursor Level. The crucial feature of self-maintenance is addressed, without which an Emergent Event could never succeed. The Study of Emergence is said to be very difficult because they don’t happen while you are watching for them. Indeed, we never know when they are about to happen because we cannot predict such Events from preceding situations.
For many reasons such areas are just NEVER addressed. Even the Santa Fe Institute – set up for this precise purpose, has proved incapable of delivering anything ofconsequence. Yet the Study of Emergence is now imperative in many areas of Science, which cannot be addressed by the old pluralist methods.

1. You have to be an expert in everything to try to address these two alternatives.

2. Reductionism and Emergence are described and compared. The essential differences being related to the differing standpoints of Plurality and Holism .

3. The Key Area for defining Emergence has to be the Origin of Life on Earth.

4. Yet when Emergences are first discovered they do not lead to initiating any research into the causes and trajectories of such Events, but only into the newly revealed Content within the new Levels

5. The study of Emergences is NOT the study of the new content, but the study of the Process of Emergence itself. The study of the Content turns out to be very similar in method to previous studies
at other Levels. It involves old-fashioned pluralistic techniques.

6. Yet None of these new entities, properties and Laws are predictable from previous Levels

7. Emergent Levels are always Revolutionary and never simply Reorganisational.

8. Emergent Levels are always strongly self-maintaining and involve a significant amount of top-down

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