Irreducibility and emergence in complex systems and the quest for alternative insights

Journal Article


The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.

Henri Poincaré

In this essay, we briefly survey the contemporary scientific and philosophical debates on emergence and conclude that this notion has become a dilemma. We argue that the reason for this dilemma is metaphysical. Subsequently, we investigate some fundamental philosophical methods in science, such as Cartesian reduction and objectivism, as the main sources of scientific drawbacks. Eventually, we suggest some refinements in philosophical methods for improvement of scientific insight and propose the method of transcendentionism as a metaphysical panacea to encounter the dilemma of emergence. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity, 17,10–18, 2011

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