HOW DYNAMIC AGGREGATES MAY ACHIEVE EFFECTIVE INTEGRATION
JOSEPH E. EARLEY
Requirements for warranted identification of 'emergence' of new entities in nonlinear chemical dynamic systems are considered in terms of developments in both chemistry and in philosophy. In particular, a recently reported example of emergence of coherence in a set of electrochemical oscillators is examined. The philosophical theory of 'response dependence,' proposed as a 'third way' in the realist-antirealist controversy, and a contemporary discussion of the concept of substance are also employed. The conclusion is reached that when a set of chemical reactions achieves such closure as to generate persistent and interactive coherence (such as a limit cycle or strange attractor), properties of a test entity are altered. To the extent that this can be shown to be the case, it is appropriate to consider that a novel (emergent) entity has come into existence. Existence of the limit cycle brings about major changes in the levels (concentrations) of reactants that generate that cycle. Emergent entities of the type discussed in this paper are not adequately dealt with by the standard philosophical theory of wholes and part ('mereology'). That theory should be extended or modified.
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