Reply To: Emergence is a conceptual phenomenon, not physical

The Gateway Forums Philosophy and Ideas Knowledge (epistemology) Emergence is a conceptual phenomenon, not physical Reply To: Emergence is a conceptual phenomenon, not physical

#28903
vandermude
Participant

    This is a different take on the question: “what do you mean by ‘real'”?

    If you consider emergent properties real, you have ignored the interplay between ideas and the physical world. Keep in mind this important point. I am not saying ideas have an independent existence. I am saying that they are a property of reality as much as matter and energy are.

    Calling emergence a concept makes explicit this point: reality goes on being real no matter what we think. But there are many ways to think about the world. Each one of those ways represents another type of emergence if you consider emergence to be conceptual.

    If you consider emergence to be a physical property instead of a conceptual property, then you have the problem of a change of conceptual basis. For example, the catalytic fold is a process that manipulates the proteins in the cell. But you could consider the cell as a network of teleological states. Then this catalytic fold was actually an achievement of a goal. That transforms the notion of a cell from a collection of proteins and enzymes into a collection of purposes.