Presentation on theme: "Emergentism By Darien Lee and Maeve McDonnell. Background George Henry Lewes was the first person to explain Emergence in a philosophical sense (1875)"— Presentation transcript:
Background George Henry Lewes was the first person to explain Emergence in a philosophical sense (1875) He published "Problems of Life And Mind," Which explains how he used his scientific knowledge on emergent properties to create the philosophical property of Emergentism. He described emergent properties as entities that originate from other, more rudimentary entities. Emergentism is now most commonly applied to arguments pertaining to consciousness
Major Tenets Soul field is generated from the body and brain Soul properties = human logic and reason consciousness is dependent on brain processes knowledge is a result of connections between brain and soul (not concerned with spacial distribution
Major Tenets - Cont. The components of a property can only be traced down as far as human knowledge will allow. Components cannot be examined in Isolation, because they act in different ways when used to form a whole property. Not all components weigh equally in effecting the whole property
Mind and Body (soul / spirit) connection Emergentism is a monist school of philosophy. It maintains that the soul field is the result of the complex construction of the human body. Therefore, the "soul-field" becomes reliant on the physical existence of the human body for its existence. However, the soul properties, such as knowledge and logic, characterize a human and a human would not be considered to be "normal" without these abilities. An example of this situation would be a magnet and its magnetic field. For the magnetic field to exist, the magnet has to be present. not only do the physical properties contribute to the identity of the magnet, but the immaterial properties of the magnetic field as well. Philosopher Roger Penrose argues that the "soul field" will maintain itself after it achieved self-sufficiency. However, emergentist, William hasker says, "even more relevant for our purpose, is that when the generator ceases to function some other entity takes over and sustains the field in being" (Hasker 475).
What does it mean to be human? Are we good or evil? Social or Individualistic? According to Emergent Vitalism, even the smallest particles that make up a human can influence human characteristics. Therefore the smallest particles that make up a human are the most important because they are the building blocks for the rest of the human. However when answering the question, what does it mean to be human, the human must be defined as a whole person because the smallest particles do not have a strong effect on human characteristics that are observed when defining a human. Through emergentism, humans can be defined as both good or evil depending on the components that make up the specific human being observed. Some goes for whether a human is defined as social or individualistic. Therefore, there is no one answer to this question, the answer is dependent on the components of the human being.
What gives meaning and purpose to life? According to emergentism, the brain is made up of a complex connection of neurons that all work together to allow the mind to function. If one single neuron or brain cell were out of the equation, the brain would operate differently. The same goes for the body, There are so many tiny particles that make up the body, that even without one, an individual might operate differently from human nature. The mind and the body give life meaning and purpose because they allow for the most amount of knowledge to be obtained. From an emergent monist perspective, the mind and body are one, but they can either be understand as whole entities or by the components that make them up. Viewing the connected mind a body through an emergent lens allows for both the mind and the body to be seen as the whole mind and the whole body, therefore they are in their most open state to receive knowledge. Philosophers spend their entire lives in hopes of gaining the most knowledge possible, so being able to do this gives their life meaning and purpose.
What are the components or meaning of consciousness? Consciousness is defined by the state of being aware of external and internal occurrences. However, questions of what defines an external or internal occurrence. According to Emergentism, occurrences are not visually considered to be a whole, but are experienced as in union. Looking at a bookshelf would be an example. The experience of looking at the shelf is not how I observed the screws and the wood and the particles that made up the wood. It is the fact that one actually looked at the bookshelf as a whole piece. Philosopher Jaegwon Kim objects this view by saying that if only the overarching occurrence is noted in the experience, then that is limiting mental causation, because in order to get the full understanding, all tenets of the occurrence must be examined. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyWfVyoz7BQ
What does it mean to be free or predetermined? The construction of a human pre-determines itself because of the mind-body connections. Because the mind is reliant on the existence of the body, it is predetermined to experience exterior occurrences through senses, which then are interpreted by the mind. To be free, it requires that a human has full control over the changes it undergoes and has the independence to find its own fate. However, emergentism will argue that the relationship of the mind and body is exposed to change, but the nature of humanity is what rationalizes their mortality. For example, William hasker references the relationship between the scientific image and the manifest image. The scientific image ultimately encompasses the manifest image because it is the representation of the "still-evolving" manifest image, which is their "concepts of sensing and awareness" (Hasker 485).
Important Quotes “Whole could not, even in theory, be deduced from the most complete knowledge of the behavior of its components, taken separately or in other combinations, and of their proportions and arrangements in this whole” ( Broad 59) “It must recognize the intimate connection between thought processes and brain processes, yet it must allow those thought processes to be separable from the brain in some way that makes personal survival intelligible" (Hasker 475). The behavior of components can be analyzed in so many different ways that it is hard to say that certain components combined make up a certain whole. For example, if the elements that make up table salt were arranged in a different way, table salt would not be an outcome. Therefor there is not even enough knowledge possible to try and analyze all possible combinations of components that can make up a whole. The brain processes are the a part of the biological functions of a human. the thought processes are a part of the "soul-field," which are the result of the brain processes. there is a difference between the two because the brain processes are simply stimulations of the chemicals and neurons in the brain, while the thought processes are the necessary logic and reasoning that support the human existence.
Important Quotes Cont. “We need to know how the parts would behave separately. And we need to know the law or the laws according to which the behavior of the separate parts is compounded when they are acting together” (Broad 61) "obviously, also, brain misfunction could interrupt the communication between the conscious mind and the effector muscles, rendering voluntary bodily action impossible. But, on the dualistic view, why should consciousness itself be interrupted by drugs, or a blow to the head, or by the need of sleep?" (hasker 477) the components of an entity can be separated and each of them can be analyzed in different ways. For example, parts of the brain could be separated and analyzed by their shape, or by their color, or by their mass. Each of these different ways of classifying the parts can create a different image of the whole. There is a problem with dualism because it does not clearly show to how the mind and body are to interact. However, with emergentism, it is easy to see that a disruption in physical construction would affect the behavior or reasoning of a human since they are reliant on one another. since consciousness is part of the "soul-field," the emergentist explains the phenomena based upon the mind-body relationship, while the dualist struggles.
Class Inquiry Questions How can emergentism explain patterns and relationships in nature? In terms of emergentism, how does consciousness contribute to the identity of a human?
Works Cited Broad, C.D. "Emergentism" The Mind And It's Place in Nature (1923). 58-78. JSTOR. Web. 17 December 2012. Hasker, William. “Emergentism.” Religious Studies 18.4 (1982): 473-488. JSTOR. Web. 12 December 2012.