Determinism, predictability and open-ended evolution: lessons from computational emergence

Synthese 185 (2):195-214 (2012)
Philippe Huneman
Université paris 1
Among many properties distinguishing emergence, such as novelty, irreducibility and unpredictability, computational accounts of emergence in terms of computational incompressibility aim first at making sense of such unpredictability. Those accounts prove to be more objective than usual accounts in terms of levels of mereology, which often face objections of being too epistemic. The present paper defends computational accounts against some objections, and develops what such notions bring to the usual idea of unpredictability. I distinguish the objective unpredictability, compatible with determinism and entailed by emergence, and various possibilities of predictability at emergent levels. This makes sense of practices common in complex systems studies that forge qualitative predictions on the basis of comparisons of simulations with multiple values of parameters. I consider robustness analysis as a way to ensure the ontological character of computational emergence. Finally, I focus on the property of novelty, as it is displayed by biological evolution, and ask whether computer simulations of evolution can produce the same kind of emergence as the open-ended evolution attested in Phanerozoic records
Keywords Emergence  Computation  Unpredictability  Robustness  Causation  Open-ended evolution
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-010-9721-7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 37,965
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Making Sense of Emergence.Jaegwon Kim - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):3-36.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea.Daniel C. Dennett - 1996 - Behavior and Philosophy 24 (2):169-174.
Wonderful Life; The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History.Stephen Jay Gould - 1992 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 23 (2):359-360.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Emergent Evolutionism, Determinism and Unpredictability.Olivier Sartenaer - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 51:62-68.
Complexity-Based Theories of Emergence: Criticisms and Constraints.Kari L. Theurer - 2014 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (3):277-301.
Emergence and Interacting Hierarchies in Shock Physics.Mark Pexton - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (1):91-122.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Emergence.Robert Francescotti - 2007 - Erkenntnis 67 (1):47 - 63.
Microdeterminism and Concepts of Emergence.Robert L. Klee - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (March):44-63.
Is Weak Emergence Just in the Mind?Mark A. Bedau - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (4):443-459.
Emergence and Adaptation.Philippe Huneman - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (4):493-520.
Computational and Conceptual Emergence.Paul Humphreys - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):584-594.


Added to PP index

Total views
73 ( #93,440 of 2,312,279 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #300,275 of 2,312,279 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature