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 ?
Grotstein and relational freedom: Emergent properties of the interpersonal field.
Wilson and Carston (2008) (13) propose that emergent properties can be explained by the "discourse context" in which an utterance is made.
Consciousness and religious awareness are emergent properties, and they have top-down causal influence on the body.
After the discussion of the literature, the emergent properties of the m-AssISt model are described.
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.
Since our model captures the emergent properties of the incarceration epidemic, we can use it to test policy options designed to reverse it.
The answer is that both facts and values are emergent properties that are "bootstrapped" and they grow from what works.
For instance, he tries to engage in the philosophical debate about eliminativism, the view that all mental phenomena are explained by brain phenomena without any emergent properties at the mental level.
Emergent properties are crucial to the concept of a system (Rechtin, 2000; Sillitto, 2005).
It explores the nature of the necessitation relation between base and emergent properties and argues that emergentism entails a Humean account of causation and related relations.
Post Keynesian objections to microfoundations are briefly discussed by Hoover (19) and by Mirowski (133); but apart from a couple of sentences in Hoover's chapter (34-5) the extensive literature in the philosophy of science on micro-reduction and emergent properties has been ignored (for an extended discussion see King 2012, Part I).