“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Emergence and the Sorites

Hold the phone: I was slightly in error in my post on Nathan Brown and emergence.

There is a deeper, more OOO reason why emergence is in trouble. This has to do with how emergence is a sensual object.

Nathan's emergence is only a problem if you cling to demonstrably brittle logics such as Russell-Frege. It's a Sorites problem that shows how you can never quite catch emergence in the act. You can never specify exactly when life emerges from non-life.

The problem is seriously mitigated if you adopt any number of paraconsistent logics. It goes away entirely if you are a dialetheist for whom p can also be not p without trivialism.

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