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EmergenceContemporary Readings in Philosophy and Science$
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Mark A. Bedau and Paul Humphreys

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026215

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026215.001.0001

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(p.231) 11 Emergence

Andrew Assad

Norman H. Packard

The MIT Press

This chapter offers a definition of the term “emergent” that is relevant to the study of Artificial Life. Since its inception, the field of Artificial Life has consistently referred to the property of “emergent” phenomena as one of its primary distinguishing features. Despite its frequent use in the literature, however, a clear and widely accepted definition of the term “emergent” is yet to be realized. The chapter studies emergence in the realm of an ALife model, and notes the rich history of the concept, which the ALife approach will hopefully expand. The idea of emergence could perhaps be traced to Heraclitus, with his theory of flux; and Anaxagoras, with his theory of perichoresis, which held that all discernible structures in the world are products of a dynamical unmixing process which began with a homogeneous chaos.

Keywords:   emergent, emergence, emergent phenomena, Artificial Life, ALife model, Heraclitus, theory of flux, Anaxagoras, theory of perichoresis

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