Emergence Group

This is the forum for the Emergence Group.

The Skeleton of Science

From: "Douglas S. Blank"
Date: Mon, November 26, 2007 12:30 pm


Wednesday emergence meeting, 8am, Park Science Building, room 230. Coffee, muffins, and scones served.

Brooks says:

This paper, "General systems theory: The skeleton of science", was written by Kenneth Boulding in 1956. It is introduced as a "sort of manifesto for the systems movement" which is, so far as I can gather, one intellectual antecedent to our current use of the concept of emergence. I'm presenting it for two reasons. First, I would like the

Downward Causality

From: "Douglas S. Blank"
Date: Tue, November 13, 2007 9:29 am

Tomorrow I'll lead a discussion on the idea of "Downward Causality" from the book "The Re-emergence of Emergence". The basic question is: is the world just "bottom-up", or is there room for "top-down" causation? For example, do "ideas" cause things to happen? Or is it all "just" Physics? We'll again meet at 8am, Park Science, room 230. Muffins, scones, and coffee served.


Determining the Minimal Genome for Life

Next Wednesday, Karen Greif will lead a discussion on the topic "Determining the Minimal Genome for Life". Due to popular demand, Karen has provided a background reading "Toward the Engineering of Minimal Living Cells" which is available on the Emergence website: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/scienceinsociety/emergencegroup/
There you can also find audio of all of the past meetings this year (the latest now in a handy MP3 format).

Halloween Emergence Group

From: "Douglas S. Blank"
Date: Mon, October 29, 2007 10:05 am

We will again meet this Wednesday, Halloween. One thing that you might want to do prior to the meeting is send me your suggestions for invited speakers on topics related to emergence. We will continue discussions on:
- levels of emergence
- "sufficient complexity" -
role of noise in neural circuitry
- neuronal activity vs. behavior
- reductionism, re frogs and jet airliners
- invited speakers list
- muffins and scones

Emergence Group, Wednesday morning

From: "Douglas S. Blank"
Date: Mon, October 22, 2007 12:30 pm
This Wednesday, 8am, we will continue our discussion on emergence of neuron functioning and behavior in the leech. Some interesting questions emerg..., er, appeared from the conversation last week:
- how does a emergentist scientist work differently from a reductionist scientist?
- are these two scientists asking the same questions? do they have the same goals?
- do they use the same tools? can one scientist use both techniques?