A System More than the Sum of Its Parts

Can’t sleep.

An emergent property is a property which a collection or complex system has, but which the individual members do not have. A failure to realize that a property is emergent, or supervenient, leads to the fallacy of division.

The fallacy of division. Going to be using this the next time a writer engages in he said/she said encoding in terms of the relationship.

Some good stuff in that one too on saltiness and how it has nothing to do with sodium or chloride.

In chemistry, for example, the taste of saltiness is a property of salt, but that does not mean that it is also a property of sodium and chlorine, the two elements which make up salt. Thus, saltiness is an emergent or a supervenient property of salt. Claiming that chlorine must be salty because salt is salty would be an example of the fallacy of division.

Indy and Marion

The romantic relationship between Indy and Marion is an emergent property of Indy and Belloq chasing after the Ark.

From the Wiki page on emergent props:

Groups of human beings, left free to each regulate themselves, tend to produce spontaneous order, rather than the meaningless chaos often feared.

In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence occurs when an entity is observed to have properties its parts do not have on their own. These properties or behaviors emerge only when the parts interact in a wider whole. For example, smooth forward motion emerges when a bicycle and its rider interoperate, but neither part can produce the behavior on their own.

And then, of course, emergent properties set the basis for consciousness–and what is a story, but a model of this consciousness?

The Friendship in Good Will Hunting

Will and Chuckie’s friendship helps form the consciousness that is Good Will Hunting. Will is the Main Character and the I perspective. Sean is the Influence Character and the You perspective. But Will and Chuckie’s friendship is the We perspective.

Will and Sean’s therapeutic relationship also captures some of this emergence, but Will and Chuckie’s friendship is something Will and Sean don’t possess–true emergence.

And the sign of consciousness.

Perhaps the most fascinating example of emergence is consciousness, i.e., how this state emerges from the interaction of individual neurons that do not possess consciousness themselves.   This tempts one to return to Cartesian dualism (the idea that matter [brain] does not bring about the mind), but short of that we get philosophers who reject reductionism without, however, coming up with a satisfactory explanation of the emergence of consciousness.

And why you need a Relationship Story to complete the model of the mind:

If a system has a structure and if that structure has a foundation, then an extension of that foundation introduces new structure components that have extra properties. These properties are emergent.

Perhaps sleep now.

More later.

James R. Hull @jhull