297

Hypothesis 20

Emergence

Old Town of Quito, Ecuador
Old Town of Quito, Ecuador


With the network, a new level of existence beyond the biological sphere can be achieved (emergence).

Just as biological facts cannot be adequately described with the theories of physics, mental or cultural facts cannot be adequately described with the body of rules applicable to biology.

Explanation:

At the end of the 19th century there was a conflict in the explanation of biological phenomena between physicalists, who wanted to describe all biological phenomena with the well-respected theories of physics, and the vitalists, who emphasised the inadequacy of physical theories in the description of biological processes and brought into play the idea of a sentient soul of organisms, which contradicted prevailing naturalistic principles.

Neither the physicalists nor the vitalists were able to prevail in the end. The vitalists failed in their non-naturalistic approach. But even the physicalists could not adequately describe biological phenomena. Since biological organisms were very complex systems that produced new characteristics, the extent to which the theories of physics could be applied was limited.

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