I argue that much of current concern with the role of causality and strong emergence in natural processes is based upon an unreasonable expectation placed on our ability to formalize scientific knowledge. In most disciplines our formalization ability is an expectation rather than a scientific result. This calls for an empirical approach to the study of causation and emergence. Finally, I suggest that for advances in complexity research to occur, attention needs to be paid to understanding what role computation plays in this experimental approach.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Boschetti F., Gray R. (2007) Emergence and computability. Emergence: Complexity and Organization 9: 120–130
Boschetti F., Gray R. (2007) A Turing test for Emergence. In: Prokopenko M. (Ed.), Advances in applied self-organizing systems. Springer-Verlag, London, pp 349–364
Boschetti F., McDonald D., Gray R. (2008) Complexity of a modelling exercise: A discussion of the role of computer simulation in complex system science. Complexity 13: 21–28
Chaitin G. (1997) The limits of mathematics: A course on information theory & limits of formal reasoning. Springer, New York
Owens D. (1992) Causes and coincidences. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Pattee H. (1997) Causation, control, and the evolution of complexity. In: Andersen P. B., Emmeche C., Finnemann N. O., Christiansen P. V. (Eds.), Downward causation. University of Århus Press, Århus, pp 322–348
Pearl J. (2003) Statistics and causal inference: A review. Test Journal 12(281): 345
Rosen, R. (2001). Life itself: A comprehensive inquiry into the nature, origin, and fabrication of life. Columbia University Press.
Ryan A. (2007) Emergence is coupled to scope, not level. Complexity 13: 67–77
Shalizi C. (2001) Causal architecture, complexity and self-organization in time series and cellular automata. Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe
Wolpert D. M. (2002) Computational capabilities of physical systems. Physical Review E 65: 016128
This article was published as doi:10.1007/s11229-010-9720 in Vol. 181, issue #3, pp. 405–412 (2011).
About this article
Cite this article
Boschetti, F. Causality, emergence, computation and unreasonable expectations. Synthese 185, 187–194 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-012-0077-z
- Numerical modelling