Tag Archives: emergent property

Is Reality Determined?

The notion of emergence — because it is so fundamental — pops up in a lot of physics related discussions. (Emergence itself emerges!) A couple of years ago I posted about it explicitly (see: What Emerges?), but I’ve also invoked it many times in other posts. It’s the very basic idea that combining parts in a certain way creates something not found in the parts themselves. A canonical example is how a color image emerges from red, green, and blue, pixels.

Also often discussed is reductionism, the Yin to the Yang of emergence. One is the opposite of the other. The color image can be reduced to its red, green, and blue, pixels. (The camera in your phone does exactly that.)

Recently I’ve been thinking about the asymmetry of those two, particularly with regard to why (in my opinion) determinism must be false.

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Wondering About Wetness

dropletsIn a discussion a while back I mentioned in passing that humans sense wetness and time. That was challenged on the basis that we don’t sense time at all and — when it comes to wetness — sense only pressure and temperature. There is some truth to that. We don’t have an actual time sensor, nor do we have specific “wetness” sensors.

I’ve been thinking about this ever since (not constantly; you know, on and off). A key question is whether wetness can be reduced to pressure and temperature and remain wetness. And time is a topic all on its own!

For the record: Here is my final answer…

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