A note on emergence

One of the points about spontaneous order is that we do not discuss it, “Emergence”. What we have to actually discuss are emergent features, emergent patterns, emergent phenomena. It is a matter of addressing concrete examples and considering them in the light of an idea which we hold very lightly in our hands. It is a frame which is delicate, but which nevertheless has great powers of consolidating complexity into a structure which does justice to the totality examined. For this reason, it is difficult to draw out because we so often appeal to reductive epistemology, which is fundamentally alien to emergent phenomena. So we attempt to explain it via analogy, and in this analogy we hope to betray the limitations of the more standard epistemology, which is often predicated on basic arithmetic notions and binary opposition. When explaining “Emergence” we will each and every time have to indicate a new phenomenon. Perhaps at some point, after enough study has been done, generalization will be possible, but for now we need to aim for specificity and precision.

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