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Old 05-19-2019, 05:13 PM
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wolfpup is offline
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Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
If that's the case, then you should be able to point out its flaws ...

... But without any positive argument to that end, you simply haven't made any contenful claim at all. For any example of emergence, you can always point to the microscopic properties grounding the emergent properties. The hydrogen bonds leading to water's fluidity. The rules any member of a flock follows to generate large-scale flocking behavior.
First, a preface. I've had a number of discussions with you and enjoyed all of them, and I've learned a lot, particularly about quantum mechanics. And for that, thank you.

Now on this, I have pointed out its flaws, several times, and the second part of that quote is just flat-out wrong. You're describing the phenomenon generally referred to as weak emergence -- properties that may or may not be inferrible from those of the constituent components. Now, while I may not agree with David Chalmers on various issues, at least he has his definitions right on strong emergence [PDF, emphasis mine]: "We can say that a high-level phenomenon is strongly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are not deducible even in principle from truths in the low-level domain."

I would then point out the example of an electronic calculator that is built from logic gates. It performs calculations, but it's not hard to show that there is nothing about this device that is even remotely "intelligent" in any meaningful sense of the word. It does arithmetic. One could even posit creative multiple interpretations of its results that are other than arithmetic. It's a lot like your box with lights and switches.

But in a very true and fundamental sense, systems like Deep Blue and subsequent chess champions were built out of the same kinds of logical devices. So was Watson, the Jeopardy champion. And they are fundamentally and qualitatively different systems from any calculator. Would you like to posit an alternative interpretation of Watson's computational results? You can't, not because it's such a complex system that it's hard to do, it's because it's qualitatively a different kind of system entirely.

Last edited by wolfpup; 05-19-2019 at 05:18 PM.