Strong Emergence

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David Chalmers on Human Consciousness as the only example of Strong Emergence

Jan-Boje Frauen:

"A human being is essentially a social system. One is not one, but a being made of trillions of individual beings, a myriad of creatures. Only ten percent of these are genuinely “human,” i.e., eukaryotes carrying the human genome, which constitute the “upper classes” of “administrators” and the “military” that rule over the “working class” and the “cattle,” meaning bacteria and fungi6. And yet, this vast society of individual beings calls itself by a single name in human consciousness. This consciousness is an “emergent phenomenon,” an entity arising out of the sea of signals transmitted between the trillions that make it. It is not in any of these in particular, not even in the neurons. It emerges from the tightly scaffolded flow of signals, from information exchange between a society of microorganisms. However, it is not an epiphenomenon, it is real. Its subjectivity encompasses more of the objective, outer world that it is embedded in than any of the entitiesthat make it can perceive individually. David Chalmers thus defines consciousness as the sole example for “strong emergence”."