hypertext dissertation - by Robyn Stuart


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QUOTE 8 from:

Lucas, C. (2004c) Emergence and Evolution - Constraints on Form [online]. Available from:; accessed on 14/2/05.

So what is this emergence exactly ? Generally it is defined by saying 'the whole is greater than the sum of the parts'. In other words we cannot predict the outcome from studying only the fine details. Examples include cellular metabolism, ant colonies, organism development, snowflakes.

Gaia and Self-Regulation
Taking a further step upwards, the whole planet is interconnected by weather, birds, insects etc., so we could regard that in turn as a coevolving organism - the Gaia theory. Again on a Solar System or Galactic level interactions of a different form (gravitational and electromagnetic) lead to emergent structure, suggesting that the concept of 'external selection' is simply a convenient simplification in what is always essentially a two way process <lucas/auto.htm>. Self-regulation by feedback mechanisms seems to be a feature of every level of evolution, a hierarchy of order, emergent from initial disorder.

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