from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Emergence ( Latin emergere " Auftauchen ", " Auftauchen ", "Auftauchen", "Auftauchen") describes the possibility of the development of new properties or structures of a system as a result of the interaction of its elements. The emergent properties of the system cannot - or at least not obviously - be traced back to properties of the elements that have them in isolation. In the philosophy of mind, some philosophers hold the opinion that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain . However, emerging phenomena are also described in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, psychology, or sociology. Are synonymsOversummativity and fulguration . Analogous to emergence, the elimination of properties is called submergence .

Etymology, history

The word emergence is derived from the Latin verb emergere ; this means transitive "to let appear", intransitive "to appear, to arise". It was first used by George Henry Lewes in connection with the declaration of consciousness . The term was then developed as a philosophical category by the English philosophers Samuel Alexander and Conwy Lloyd Morgan in their theory of emergent evolution.

Weak and strong emergence

Emergence is basically conceivable in a weak and a strong form. The weak form of emergence corresponds to a temporary inexplicability of emergent systems based on the description of their elements. In contrast, some philosophers and natural scientists such as Philip Warren Anderson , Robert B. Laughlin , Stuart Kauffman or Peter Kopietz also assume that the strong form is inexplicable in principle. A similar position of the fundamental incompleteness of the explanation of complex systems has been taken in the discussion of the Laplace demon since the 1960s . In connection with this is also the idea of ​​the “downward directed” causality from mental to physical processes developed by Donald Davidson in the philosophy of mind .

Opponents of the thesis of strong emergence argue that many properties of human consciousness that were previously declared emergent can be explained by knowledge of the properties of the components of the brain (e.g. nerve cells and synapses ). However, even with comparatively simple physical phenomena such as weather events, the complete explanation of macro phenomena on the level of elementary particles is practically so remote that the difference between weak and strong emergence is currently of little relevance.

Emergence as a cross-disciplinary concept

The phenomenon of emergence is often used as an argument against a reductionist scientific atomism . With this, emergence theorists deny that a complete description of the world is possible in principle solely on the basis of knowledge of the elementary particles and general physical laws (see Laplace's demon ). However, the recognition of emergent phenomena does not have to lead to a waiver of scientific explanations . Rather, the developments in systems theory and chaos research show that emergence-related phenomena such as self-organization and the conditions in which they arise are accessible to systematic and objectively comprehensible explanations. However, instead of the unity of science, based on a hierarchical derivation from universal laws, there is a transdisciplinary dialogue, the aim of which is to compare analogous structures of complex systems on different emergence levels.

In most cases, emergence arises on the basis of spontaneous self-organization. The concept of emergent self-organization can be described as follows: Several, many or very many elements combine on the basis of their interactions , which usually only work between the closest neighbors, spontaneously to form systems with certain new structures, properties and capabilities. The reason for this is feedback in the emergent processes and, as a consequence, non-linear processes and the complexity of the systems.

There are many different types of emergent self-organization in the inanimate and animate world. In relation to the energy balance, emergent processes can take place in thermal equilibrium , i.e. H. without energy exchange with the environment, as well as with release ( exothermic ) or absorption of energy ( endothermic ). Examples of self-organization in thermal equilibrium are the emergence of ferromagnetic order and superconductivity . Examples of the emergence of more order without the addition of energy are the formation of the light atomic nuclei up to iron, the formation of atoms from nuclei and electrons, the development of stars , the change in physical states ( condense , solidify) and exothermic chemical reactions. Examples of the emergence of more complexity and order that require external energy are the formation of heavy atomic nuclei beyond iron, convection patterns in heated liquids, lasers , endothermic chemical reactions, and above all the emergence and development of life, evolution , the mental processes in the brain and the development of human society. These processes are only possible far from thermal equilibrium and with the addition of energy and / or matter.

The spontaneous self-assembly is mainly a temporal process, a process , but usually also leads to a permanent structure of the system thus formed. There are processes of self-organization that run so quickly that only the result, the changed structure, is visible to the observer, including many exothermic chemical reactions. In other processes, the course of time can be in the foreground for an observer, for example in the development of life. Self-organized systems are usually themselves elements of self-organization and can form further higher-level systems. This ultimately results in a hierarchy of self-organized systems from which our world is built. In this way, the self-organized emergent processes cause the increasing complexity in the development of the world, both in inanimate nature and in animate nature and in society. The emergent self-organization connects the material world with the world of the spirit as a universal principle.


Konrad Lorenz has criticized the term emergence because its German meaning (Auftauchen) suggests that something that already exists, that has only been hidden, is coming to light. Instead, he proposed the term fulguration .

The idea of ​​emergence of Émile Durkheim has been criticized in philosophy by, among other things, a. whose ontological conception has been contested. While Durkheim's critics recognize in his work the conception of a society as an independent “being” with its own form of “consciousness” - in the form of “collective representations” or “ collective consciousness” - reductionist approaches negate forms of consciousness that refer to individual psyches go out. From a reductionist perspective, there is no ontological difference between individuals and society.

Mario Bunge and Martin Mahner oppose definitions such as E.g. that of the evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr , who sees emergence as a property that cannot be predicted or explained from knowledge of the properties of the parts. They justify this with the fact that emergence has something to do with the real world and not with knowledge about it. The concept of emergence is ontological and not epistemological .

The inflationary use of the term emergence is also criticized, since many effects are described as emergent, although the supposedly new properties of the overall system could also be explained from their individual parts. The description of a property as emergent is therefore often only an excuse for a lack of insight or intelligence on the part of the viewer who does not understand the complex relationships in a system and simply describes it as emergent. In an essay for Nature Chemistry, Bruce Gibb asks himself whether the typical spiral shape of a tornado or its destructive power can be explained by knowledge of the heat capacity of water, the Coriolis force and fluid dynamics. His pointed conclusion is that a tornado can all too easily be dismissed as an emergent property without understanding this background.

General characteristics of emergences


Some emergent properties cannot be discovered from a reductionist approach if they only appear in interaction with other subsystems. (In the example of the wolf, social behavior can only be examined if the community of the members of a wolf pack is observed.) In some cases it is possible to change or even eliminate certain elements or causal relationships without changing certain emergent properties of the system while others may very well change. Example: The ability of a driver to drive does not depend on the color of the seat covers, but does depend on the interior temperature when exposed to the sun.

So whether certain elements or causal relationships are reducible depends on how essential or significant they are for the development of the emergent property.

Systems that are composed of repetitive units are numerically reducible: You can reduce the number of elements up to a limit number of units without losing emergent properties. This is especially the case with chemical substances and their specific properties. Example: water is liquid at room temperature, a single water molecule is not. This property is therefore emergent because it only results from the interaction of many water molecules. In the same way of thinking, a tree is not a forest. Many properties of a forest cannot be found in the properties of a single tree.

There is a minimum number of interacting building blocks for every system, which is necessary for the development of an emergent property.


If a new subsystem is integrated into an existing system, i.e. linked to the other system elements through effective relationships, the system can exhibit new emergent properties that were not foreseeable. The evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr defines : "Emergence in systems is the occurrence of features at higher organizational levels that could not have been predicted based on known components of lower levels."

Reasons for this:

  • The system is already so complex that it cannot be examined or simulated without reduction.
  • New connections, effective relationships and processes are created between the system elements that were not implemented (pre-planned).
  • The couplings or effective relationships between all elements are changed by the integration of the new element.

Context conditions

The interactions between wind and surface structure create emergent ripple patterns and dune landscapes in the sandy desert

The context conditions of emergent systems largely agree with the properties of self-organized systems . An important role is played by self-amplification by positive feedback processes on the basis of self-reference or circular causality. A simple example is the creation of ripple marks on a sand surface overflowing with air or water. The mutual reinforcement of initially minimal differences in the surface structure and turbulence in the flow lead to the formation of patterns .

History of the emergence theory

Beginnings in philosophy and psychology

In philosophy and psychology, emergence describes the phenomenon that certain properties of a whole cannot be explained from its parts. An early forerunner of the theory of emergent properties of a system can be found in the metaphysics of Aristotle :

“What is composed of components in such a way that it forms a unified whole is not like a heap, but like a syllable , which is obviously more than just the sum of its components. A syllable is not the sum of its sounds: ba is not the same as b plus a, and flesh is not the same as fire plus earth . "

Simplified, the corresponding quote is reproduced in the popular expression “ The whole is more than the sum of its parts ” (see Holism and Gestalt Psychology ). Pantheistic ideas, for example those of Giordano Bruno and Baruch de Spinoza , can also be seen as further preliminary stages of the emergence theory . According to them, the natural order is neither based on a personal, intelligent being, nor can it be reduced to isolated material elements. These thoughts were taken up in the philosophy of German idealism and partly in Marxism and further developed in a "dialectical natural philosophy ". The protagonists include Hegel , Schelling and Friedrich Engels . The emergence theoretical relevance of the dialectical philosophers became known primarily through the political formula of the revolutionary change from quantity to quality .

But also in the liberal Anglo-Saxon tradition there are ideas of emergence theory. So wrote John Stuart Mill on the emergence of new properties in chemical reactions.

Together with the British philosopher Samuel Alexander , Conwy Lloyd Morgan developed the so-called emergence theory , which regards the formation of consciousness as an evolutionary phenomenon that cannot be adequately explained biologically. In addition to Morgan and Alexander, CD Broad is a representative of the "emergence philosophy". The emergence theory plays an important role in modern ontology , in the explanation of consciousness, the ego and the subjective mind . Especially in the philosophy of mind, there has been a renaissance of the concept of emergence since the 1970s.

Process Theory Norbert Elias'

As part of his process model of the Great Evolution , the sociologist and human scientist Norbert Elias deals with the mechanism by which something new arises in evolutionary leaps: the integration or combination of existing phenomena and the division of functions between them. In doing so, Elias fills the often relatively abstract assertion that occurs in literature with life: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts." The combination of relatively simple units creates more complex units, the parts of which are interdependent, so that no part can be removed without having more or less serious consequences for the whole unit and its sub-units, in extreme cases causing both to disintegrate into simpler units.

This integration and division of functions, the mutual dependency and complexity is still relatively loose in the physico-chemical area, the "next lower subunits [are] not yet functionally bound to one another, so that the synthesis is reversible without these subunits changing their properties ". Elias speaks of the "reversible integration type" and names small molecules as examples.

The intensity of integration and the division of functions increases sharply in the area of ​​biological evolution . This creates “more complex structures, the next lower sub-units of which are functionally linked to one another - the structure of these sub-units is accordingly coordinated to function within the framework of a certain composite unit of a higher order; in this case the parts lose their own structure when the higher order unit that they form with one another disintegrates ”. Elias speaks of the "irreversible integration type" and cites single-celled beings as an example .

Integration and division of functions have reached their highest level in the area of socio-cultural evolution . This is where another epistemological debate in the social sciences takes place, that of the relationship between “the individual and society ”. Here in particular Elias points out that both the individual and the whole to which it belongs must be appropriately represented conceptually. The whole must neither be reduced to the individual parts, nor the individual parts mentally removed from the picture of the whole, because only the complex interactions and mutual dependencies of the individual parts form the whole.

Ontological approach

The ontological analysis of the concept of emergence shows that only the embedding of emergent properties in certain emergence levels or layers enables the permanent emergence of new structures. To put it the other way round: the singular appearance of any new thing as an object, property or structural element would only be an irrelevant variation in the given, which occurs constantly and everywhere anyway. The ontological questions that arise from this are, for example: What is a level of emergence? How do individual variations of the given solidify step by step into emergent properties and objects? How can one describe the relationship between different emergence layers?

The ontological approach to researching emergence is thus holistic in nature; H. he sees the whole of a structural section of the world as the actual carrier of emergence. The question of the nature of a level of emergence and the relationship between several levels of emergence leads to the even more general question of what is to be understood by a structure in the ontological sense . If one assumes that emergence is a certain type of something happening, hence a process , then emergence theory falls within the realm of general process philosophy . It follows that general process conditions, i.e. H. those that apply to every conceivable process, must also apply to emergent processes. Emergence as a structural phenomenon can thus be understood as a differentiation of preceding process conditions.

The relationship between different emergence levels can be determined in almost all cases, e.g. B. the relationship of inorganic to organic nature, represent as a stratification. Thus, in a possible level hierarchy, the macrophysical structure follows from the quantum physical level that continues below it. The macrophysical level is in turn followed by the organic or biological level, followed by the cognitive and social level etc. So that the respective subsequent or higher level does not become a material and structural inconsistency with all of its preceding ones, i.e. H. When it comes to its carrier levels, it must meet all process conditions and thus the existential requirements of the carrier levels for its specific objects and their properties and also add more conditions to these conditions. This process is called internal differentiation of process structures. In principle, the possibility of ever further internal differentiation is neither logically nor materially (e.g. physically or biologically) restricted. This in turn means that the emergence of the world as a whole takes place in a fundamentally open development horizon: There is no reason to assume that the ontological further development of the cosmos as a whole, and especially on earth, comes up against any inherent limit.

Systems theory approach

Emergence is a characteristic of hierarchically structured systems . Such systems have properties at the macro level that are not available at the simpler organizational level, the micro level. They arise from synergetic interactions between the elements on the micro level.

Complex Systems Theory

The theory of complex systems is based on systems- theoretical and chaos-theoretical findings on emergence.



Emergence theories in biology aim to establish a non-reductionist physicalism . Organisms therefore represent such a hierarchical system: They consist of organs , these of cells , these in turn of organelles and these in turn are composed of macromolecules . A protein molecule has properties that none of the atoms that make it up have.

Cow step on the Gruberalm: The creation of slope structures by cow step is also based on self-reinforcement - cows apparently prefer to walk on well-trodden paths.
  • The isolated consideration of a male wolf (for example under the aspects of autecology , physiology or anatomy ) leads to the explanation of many structures, their functions and behavior. The importance of the sexual organs only emerges when the connection to the females is recognized. However, this means that males and females are viewed as elements of a superordinate system, the reproductive community .
  • For the single-cell Chlamydomonas , the ability to photosynthesize is not an emergent property, as it results from the photosynthetic ability of certain parts, the chloroplasts .
  • Spatial vision with two eyes (whose field of vision overlaps significantly; stereoscopic or binocular vision ) is not possible with just one eye.


A frequently used example comes from neurology : the brain consists of a large number of superficially similar elements, the nerve cells , and other cells, the function of which has in part been little researched. Activity patterns emerge from the interplay of these building blocks, which make up the actual brain activity, cf. →  situation circle .

Douglas R. Hofstadter describes how comparable systems of symbols become visible on very different systems of cooperating simpler elements, such as the intelligence performances of anthills, swarms of bees and human brains, in such a way that nothing of the symbols can be found in ants, bees or neurons.


Ever since Émile Durkheim , who founded sociology as an independent science with arguments from emergence theory, the idea of ​​emergent phenomena has played an important role in sociology. Important exponents of sociological emergence concepts were Talcott Parsons and Niklas Luhmann and, as already mentioned above, Norbert Elias. Luhmann has an innovative version of the concept of emergence, in which the relationship between the whole and its parts in the theoretical design is replaced by the difference between system and environment. According to Luhmann, society is emergent in relation to the individuals (in the sense of psychic consciousness) who, in his theory, find their place in the environment of society.

  • Size, shape, direction, speed and wave movements in swarms are emergent towards the individual, e.g. B. fish or bird. These changes or movements run e.g. Sometimes faster than the ability of the individual fish or bird to react in isolation would allow.
  • Crowds or can -massen emergent behavior or characteristics for evince. B. at major events, (monumental) parades, in stadiums where colored costumes or flags make it possible to tell patterns, ornaments, pictures, even whole picture stories. The La Ola comes in a stadium all around the fullest advantage.
    In their movement along the infrastructure (at train stations, platforms, airports, escalators, waiting areas, motorway construction sites, bus stops) they show reverse flow behavior (in bottlenecks: increased pressure and reduced speed) or herd behavior - different in traffic jams and peak times than in panic and than when there is a low number of people (see also mass psychology , group dynamics ).
    Demonstrations, troop movements that follow a plan of action, or migrations (including large-scale migrations of peoples) have their own dynamics, depending on the development of the situation.

Thinking and communication

Human thought content ( ideas , concepts, theories ) have Emergenzeigenschaften against the neurological processes and mental acts from which they arise. Emergence effects can also be seen in the communication of thought content, because the properties of information cannot be derived linearly from the underlying grammatical structures ( letters , words , syntax ). Communication is dependent on media such as paper and ink, but nothing about the content of the texts written with them can be derived from the physical or chemical properties of ink and paper.

The theory of memetics tries to describe the evolutionary , multiplicative effect of such communicated thought contents , an extension of Darwin's theory of natural selection in relation to the field of culture . The basic unit of a thought capable of communication is the meme , which first develops or changes in the feeling and thinking abilities of an individual and then through communication and exchange with other memes. According to this theory, an increasing "speed of evolution" of the memes has arisen through the development of the new media .

Special case: teaching

The learner group can be constituted according to the model of the brain: the learners are metaphorically defined as “neurons” that interact on a topic-related basis and transform information into knowledge. For this purpose, the learners must have a number of communicative skills (reflexes) that are systematically developed by the teacher in the classroom discourse . The group-specific skills and attitudes that are necessary in order to jointly construct knowledge (e.g. willingness and ability to interact quickly) are emergent properties of the learner group (cf., among others, learning through teaching , in particular Martin / Oebel 2007).

new media

In connection with the new media such as the Internet , there is also talk of emergence . The internet creates new effects that can be described as emergent . These effects are reinforced by further networking . Examples are net art , smart mobs , online games , internet forums , wikis and grid computing .

In the contemporary technology-centered and cybernetic-system-theoretical-oriented media theories of media studies , emergence is a key term that can mostly be read as self-development . Formulations such as "Since media environments emerge from themselves ..." can be found here.

Even Friedrich Kittler and Michael Giesecke (in the book printing in the early modern period ) use the term.

Perhaps the most radical is the thesis of George Dyson , who in his book Darwin among the Machines predicts that a kind of artificial collective intelligence will emerge on the Internet .

Penelope Sweetser and Peta Wyeth deal in their publications (eg: "Emergence in Games" and "GameFlow: a model for evaluating player enjoyment in games") with the generation of emergence in computer games. They use various programming techniques and algorithms from fuzzy logic, complex systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Economic and social systems

In business administration the term emergence is used in connection with unintended effects through B. Actions of management of large companies (as a form of complex systems) used.

In economics, it is controversial whether the emergent result of the actions of many individual economic actors leads in the long term to efficient states of equilibrium in the sense of Adam Smith's invisible hand of the market, or to a sequence of short-term destructive bursts of innovation ( Schumpeter's Creative Destruction ).

Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson have found that economic and social orders vary widely, from inclusive to extractive. Inclusive systems are characterized by a broad active participation of citizens in business and politics, the promotion of training, science and entrepreneurship, personal freedom in the choice of training and career choice, a widely distributed knowledge of the citizens, existence of personal property, etc. In addition, there is a generally binding legal system and a central institution that ensures order and law, diversity in economic competition without restriction of access to the markets, etc. All people thus have an incentive to do something for themselves and society to do because they know that they will benefit directly or indirectly from it. Inclusive systems are symbiotic systems.

Extractive systems focus power, wealth and knowledge on a small self-appointed elite who i. d. Usually she is not particularly well qualified, because she has usually come to the top through birthright or party membership. It is not controlled either, because there is no separation of powers ; The legislature , jurisprudence and the executive are in the hands of the elite. The citizens are more or less brought up and treated as slaves of the system, there is no or very little private property, access to the profession is e.g. B. limited by guilds, suppressed entrepreneurial initiatives, monopolized markets, etc. As a result, in an extractive system, most people lack the personal incentive and motivation to do more than what is absolutely necessary. Education, progress and innovation are suppressed by the elite because this could endanger their power. Because of the great social differences between the many very poor and the very few very rich, extractive social systems are much more conflictual than inclusive. They are therefore less stable and their maintenance requires great military and financial resources. From a scientific point of view, extractive elites are parasites.

One-sided ideologies act as order parameters in society and impair the emergent self-organization and pluralism , and as a consequence, in the medium and long term, the innovation and competitiveness of society. They limit the dynamic equilibrium between the antagonists on one side and thereby force social processes into unstable areas far away from the attractors . An example of a balanced dynamic structure of a society is Hayek's “ Extended Order of Human Interaction”, which combines the conscious design of framework conditions with the largest possible proportion of spontaneous self-organized processes.


In physics in particular, there are examples of the emergence of features , since the properties of the entire macroscopic world are emergent properties.

A collection of a few iron atoms has no property that goes appreciably beyond the sum of the properties of the individual atoms. If there are a few million, however, crystalline structures form spontaneously and, below the Curie temperature, ferromagnetic areas, Weiss areas - an emergent property that is only observed with iron, cobalt and nickel at room temperature.

In a simple case one looks at the properties of a gas and the properties of the molecules that make up that gas. While the gas has properties such as “ temperature ” or “ pressure ”, this is not the case for any of the constituent molecules. (A single molecule has neither a “temperature” nor a “pressure”.) The attributes mentioned are emergent, as they are not characteristics of the components that make up the overall “gas” system. This also applies to the entire thermodynamics .

Such phenomena as paramagnetism , the freezing of water into ice , superconductivity , the properties of heavy stars , the weather , the spectrum of a black body (e.g. sunlight) and even the vertical distribution of air molecules in the earth's atmosphere are also emergent Properties. The field of research that examines and establishes the macroscopic world on a microscopic level is statistical physics .

A dynamic example is the formation of vortices in liquids or gases (tornado / tornado in air) that do not even consist of the same individual elements that get into a vortex and leave it again while the vortex persists.

The emergence also plays an outstanding role in cluster physics , because here the properties of the solid arise evolutionarily or spontaneously through the increase in the number of atoms in atomic aggregates (clusters).

In the field of electronics, imagine a coil and a capacitor connected in parallel or in series. The properties of the resulting resonant circuit can then be calculated from those of the components. In this respect, the resonant circuit in the model of the components can be calculated in a reductionistically. However, it is not possible to calculate its properties on the basis of atoms or even elementary particles. On the other hand, the oscillating circuit has emergent functions, namely the oscillation modes that its components do not have. Conclusion: Emergence and reductionism are not in contradiction to one another in this example.

The Nobel Prize laureate (1998) Robert B. Laughlin understands emergence as a physical principle of order and even regards gravity and space and time as not fundamental , but rather emergent for large length scales.


Emergent phenomena are easy to visualize, especially in mathematics : Conway's game of life is a system of many small cells that can either be alive or dead. Very simple rules specify how each individual cell changes its state (alive / dead) over time. The entire system can - depending on the initial configuration - show an extraordinarily complex, ordered and astonishing behavior, which does not suggest that the individual components (the cells) obey very primitive rules.

Another amazing emergent behavior is shown by Langton's ant .


In the field of software development, emergent software systems are described as software systems that dynamically and flexibly create a large number of components from different manufacturers - v. a. in the area of ​​business software - be able to combine. Such systems can therefore react quickly to changing requirements in the market and in the business environment. The emergent property of such software systems is that the combination of the various components can create new, not planned in advance services that are more than the sum of the parts of the individual components. From a technological point of view, emergent software systems are in the tradition of service-oriented architecture . Research into emergent software systems is a core topic in the software cluster, a network of German software companies and research institutions.


“At every stage, the world that we perceive is created through“ emergence ”. That is, through the process by which sizeable aggregations of matter can spontaneously develop properties that are irrelevant to the simpler units of which they are composed. - A cell is not yet a tiger. Nor is a single gold atom yellow and shiny. "

"This principle of emergence is just as much an all-pervasive philosophical basis of a modern scientific approach as is reductionism."


"This principle of emergence is as pervasive a philosophical foundation of the viewpoint of modern science as is reductionism."

“It doesn't take more to get more. That's what emergence means. Life can emerge from physics and chemistry and a variety of coincidences. Human consciousness can arise through neurobiology and a variety of coincidences. Also: the chemical bond is created by physics and certain coincidences. The importance of these things is not diminished just because we know that they follow from more fundamental circumstances plus coincidences. It's a general rule! And grasping this is of the utmost importance. It doesn't take more to get more! "


“You don't need something more to get more - that is what emergence means. Life can emerge from physics and chemistry, plus a lot of accidents. The human mind can arise from neurobiology, and a lot of accidents. This way, the chemical bond arises from physics and certain accidents. It does not diminish the importance of these subjects, to know that they follow from more fundamenal things plus accidents. It's a general rule! And it's critically important to realize that. You don't need something more, in order to get something more! "

"From a physical point of view, it's particularly fun to talk about life, because it represents the most extreme case of the emergence of laws."

“Unfortunately, the term emergence has taken on a number of meanings that stand for different things, including supernatural appearances that are not subject to the laws of physics. I don't mean that. I understand it to be a physical principle of order. "

“Einstein was an artist and a scholar, but above all he was a revolutionary. [...] The unfounded conviction of his time was the ether, more precisely, the naive version of the ether that preceded relativity. The unsubstantiated conviction of our time is relativity itself. It would be entirely his nature to look at the facts again, overturn them in his mind and come to the conclusion that his beloved principle of relativity is by no means fundamental, but emergent. "


  • Mario Bunge , Martin Mahner : About the nature of things. Materialism and science . Hirzel, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-7776-1321-5 .
  • Philip Clayton : Emergence and Awareness. Evolutionary Process and the Limits of Naturalism . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-525-56985-6 .
  • Günter Dedié: The power of the laws of nature - emergence and collective abilities through spontaneous self-organization, from the elementary particles to human society . tredition, Hamburg 2014. ISBN 978-3-8495-7901-2 .
  • Jens Greve, Annette Schnabel (eds.): Emergence. For the analysis and explanation of complex structures. Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-518-29517-5 .
  • Jochen Fromm: The Emergence of Complexity . Kassel University Press, Kassel 2004, ISBN 3-89958-069-9 .
  • Hermann Helbig : World riddle from the point of view of modern science: emergence in nature, society, psychology, technology and religion . Springer, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-662-56288-8 (XX, 787, [1] - reading sample).
  • John H. Holland : Emergence. From chaos to order . Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 1998, ISBN 0-19-286211-1 .
  • Paul Hoyningen-Huene : On emergence, micro- and macro-determination. In: W. Lübbe (Ed.): Causality and attribution. de Gruyter, Berlin 1994, pp. 165-195.
  • Paul Hoyningen-Huene: Emergence and Reduction. In: Andreas Bartels, Manfred Stöckler (Ed.): Theory of Science. A study book . Mentis, Paderborn 2007, pp. 177-197.
  • Andrey Korotayev , Artemy Malkov, Daria Khaltourina: Introduction to Social Macrodynamics: Compact Macromodels of the World System Growth. URSS, Moscow 2006, ISBN 5-484-00414-4 .
  • Wolfgang Krohn, Günter Küppers (Ed.): Emergenz. The emergence of order, organization and meaning . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-518-28584-X .
  • Robert B. Laughlin : Farewell to the world formula . Piper, Munich / Zurich 2007, ISBN 978-3-492-04718-0 .
  • Niklas Luhmann : The Society of Society. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997.
  • Karl Popper , John C. Eccles : The self and its brain. An argument for interactionism . Springer, Heidelberg / Berlin / London / New York 1977, ISBN 0-387-08307-3 .
    • German edition: The self and its brain . Translated from English by Angela Hartung (Eccles parts), Willy Hochkeppel (Popper parts). Piper, Munich / Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-492-02817-9 .
  • Wolfgang Sohst : Real possibility. A general theory of becoming . xenomoi, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-942106-41-2 .
  • Achim Stephan : Emergence. From unpredictability to self-organization . Habilitation thesis . University of Karlsruhe 1998. University Press, Dresden / Munich 1999, ISBN 3-933168-09-0 . (Second edition: Emergence. From unpredictability to self-organization. Mentis, Paderborn 2005, ISBN 3-89785-439-2 )
  • Penelope Sweetser, Peta Wyeth: GameFlow: a model for evaluating player enjoyment in games. (= ACM Computers in Entertainment. 3). 2005, OCLC 752578731 .
  • Penny Sweetser: Emergence in games. Charles River Media, Boston, Mass. 2008, ISBN 978-1-58450-551-8 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Emergence  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. emergo. In: Dictionary Latin. Langenscheidt, Berlin 1985.
  2. ^ GH Lewes: Problems of Life and Mind. (First Series), vol. 2, Trübner, London 1875.
  3. Martin Mahner, Mario Bunge: Philosophical foundations of biology . Springer, Heidelberg 2000, p. 33; Here 1879 is given as the first mention of the term.
  4. Emergence. In: Georgi Schischkoff (Hrsg.): Philosophical dictionary . Kröner, Stuttgart 1991.
  5. ^ A b Philip Warren Anderson : Contribution in: John Brockman (Ed.): The most important inventions of the last 2000 years . Ullstein, Berlin 2000, p. 178.
  6. Robert B. Laughlin places emergence as an indispensable basic principle of natural phenomena at the beginning of his Nobel Lecture. (pdf; 2.0 MB). An easily understandable illustration of the necessity of the emergence principle to enable a variety of basically collective physical phenomena can be found in his book Farewell to the World Formula. Reinventing physics. Piper Verlag, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-492-04718-0 - with more than 30 references on the subject of emergence.
  7. ^ Stuart Kauffman: Beyond Reductionism. www.edge.org, 2006.
  8. Peter Copyz: When matter gets states. In: https://itp.uni-frankfurt.de/~kopietz/ . Taunus Zeitung, October 5, 2016, accessed on June 18, 2019 .
  9. Günter Dedie: The power of nature laws. Emergence and collective abilities from elementary particles to human society. tredition, 2014, ISBN 978-3-8495-7685-1 .
  10. Hartmut Esser: Sociology: General Basics. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 1999, p. 409.
  11. Veit Bütterlin: The model of social scientific explanation and the Emergenzproblem. Tectum Verlag, Marburg 2006, p. 56.
  12. ^ Bruce C. Gibb: The emergence of emergence . In: Nature Chemistry . tape 3 , no. 1 , 2011, p. 3-4 , doi : 10.1038 / nchem.934 .
  13. Ernst Mayr: That is biology - the science of life. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag Heidelberg / Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-8274-1015-0 , p. 403.
  14. ^ Aristotle : Metaphysics . Book 8.6. 1045a: 8-10.
  15. Dialectics of Nature. In: Friedrich Engels: Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels - works. Volume 20, Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1962, pp. 481-508.
  16. ^ "The chemical combination of two substances produces, as is well known, a third substance with properties different from those of either of the two substances separately, or of both of them taken together" Mill (1843)
  17. Brockhaus Encyclopedia. Volume 5, FA Brockhaus, Wiesbaden 1968, ISBN 3-7653-0000-4 , p. 489.
  18. Norbert Elias : Commitment and distancing (= work on the sociology of knowledge I). 2nd edition, Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 196.
  19. Marcel Weber: Supervenience and physicalism. In: Ulrich Krohs , Georg Toepfer (Ed.): Philosophy of Biology. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2005, p. 73.
  20. ^ Neil A. Campbell, Jane B. Reece: Biology. 6th edition. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg 2003, p. 3.
  21. ^ Douglas R. Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach. An Eternal Golden Braid. Vintage Books, New York 1980, ISBN 0-394-74502-7 .
  22. Jean-Pol Martin , Guido Oebel: Learning through teaching: paradigm shift in didactics? In: German Lessons in Japan. 12, 2007, pp. 4–21 (Journal of the Japan Teachers Association, ISSN  1342-6575 )
  23. Norbert Bolz in Computer as a Medium. Munich 1994, p. 11.
  24. Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson: Why Nations Fail. Fischer, 2013, ISBN 978-3-10-000546-5 .
  25. Günter Dedie: society without ideology - a utopia? What today's science can contribute to tomorrow's social order. tredition 2019, ISBN 978-3-7482-2759-5
  26. ^ Friedrich von Hayek: The fatal arrogance - the errors of socialism, Mohr 2011
  27. See also the two quotations from Robert B. Laughlin below or
  28. Philip Warren Anderson : Physics: The opening to complexity. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . 92:15, 1995, p. 6653.
  29. ^ Murray Gell-Mann: Lecture March 2007 in Monterey, California: "Beauty and truth in physics", TED TV - Ideas worth spreading. Summary: (1.5 min video) . Full lecture (16 min video) . Entire lecture text .
  30. ^ Robert B. Laughlin : Farewell to the universal formula . Piper, 2007, ISBN 978-3-492-04718-0 , p. 235.
  31. ^ Robert B. Laughlin: Farewell to the universal formula . Piper, 2007, ISBN 978-3-492-04718-0 , p. 25.
  32. ^ Robert B. Laughlin: Farewell to the universal formula . Piper, 2007, ISBN 978-3-492-04718-0 , p. 190.