emergent properties


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emergent properties

any properties (of a social system or group) of which it can be asserted that they cannot be explained simply in terms of their origins or constituent parts – hence the notion that ‘the whole is greater than the parts’. The term is especially identified with functionalist sociologies, such as Durkheim's, which emphasize the AUTONOMY OF SOCIOLOGY from other disciplines (i.e. that sociological accounts should not be subject to REDUCTIONISM). The notion of emergent properties has often been criticized. For example, it has been seen as leading to a reified account (see REIFICATION) of social reality, and to a loss of visibility and recognition of the influence of the individual actor. However, the conception of emergent properties need not be associated with the notion that there are no links with, or no influence of, underlying levels of reality, but merely that there may be aspects of social reality which cannot be satisfactorily explained reductively In the physical sciences, too, emergent properties play an indispensable role (e.g. ‘weather systems’ in meteorology) where the complexity of reality and the unpredictability of the underlying variables defies a fully reductive account. In an important sense, the existence of separate disciplines in science is testimony to the existence of emergent properties; at the very least emergent properties prove analytically indispensable. The importance of these need not mean the existence of any absolute barriers to attempts at reductionistic analysis; simply that these attempts are unlikely ever to be entirely successful, and even if successful, will not overturn the utility of the conception of emergent properties. Compare HOLISM, METHODOLOGICAL INDIVIDUALISM.
References in periodicals archive ?
The emergent properties are the quantities that are either constructed to quantify the primary properties or are assumed as mathematical tools to model relationships amongst the different primary properties.
Grotstein and relational freedom: Emergent properties of the interpersonal field.
These properties have, accordingly, been labeled "emergent properties" by Wilson and Carston (2008), and the ensuing problem the "emergent property problem." (6) So how could BULLDOZER/BULLDOZER *, and other disjoint cases be explained with PPA?
The properties characteristic of living beings, precisely as living, emerge from the material constituents, but these emergent properties are not reducible to the constituent elements.
We use the term "emergent properties" proposed by Dourish (2004) to refer to the elements that allow us to define the context of an authentic assessment activity.
Specifically, this part looks at the emergent properties of the models and their analysis.
The current trend towards more integrated approaches to natural resources management is not really captured in the papers and the volume might have been enriched if some contributions had looked at landscapes as functioning systems with emergent properties to which trees and forest contribute.
Some equilibria just are emergent properties. But in such cases, should external conditions change, the equilibrium can change without any additional forces being invoked to restore the prevailing practice.
"Since our model captures the emergent properties of the incarceration epidemic, we can use it to test policy options designed to reverse it."
This can result in novel features, usually referred to in terms of emergent properties. Cilliers presents a useful contemporary summary and update of complexity research.