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Complexity and Emergence

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Streamed live on Nov 15, 2014

Psychobiologist Roger Sperry proposed that, “mind and consciousness are dynamic emergent properties of the living brain in action.” This seemingly simple observation raises a host of questions. How do novel entities arise from self-organizing complex systems? If a system itself shows adaptive, self-organizing properties not attributable to its aggregate micro-potentialities—such that at each new level of complexity, new properties arise—can science ever be confidently predictive? What are the implications of the complexity of science for our understanding of the brain/mind, other biological systems, and the social and behavioral sphere—from global economics to political philosophy?

Participants:

Mark Alford
Professor of Physics, Washington University in Saint Louis

Zosia Krusberg
Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Vassar College

Timothy O’Connor
Professor of Philosophy, Indiana University

Raul Rabadan
Associate Professor in the Departments of Systems Biology and Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Caleb Scharf
Director of Astrobiology, Columbia University

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