IUBio

why study neurology?

mat mats_trash at hotmail.com
Fri Jan 18 10:24:31 EST 2002


james at teoth.fsnet.co.uk (James Teo) wrote in message news:<3c4583e3.10710608 at news.freeserve.net>...
> On 15 Jan 2002 01:49:36 -0800, mats_trash at hotmail.com (mat) wrote:
> >This argument that there is 'something else' only works if you can
> >postulate what that something else is. 
> 
> Network theory in crowd dynamics shows you that there is something
> else other than just the individual people that influences their
> behaviour. It is everything from proximity, herd instinct, cultural
> identity, etc. That is the something else: the emergent phenomenon
> which is the mind, which has a distinct set of properties in addition
> to their properties of being neurons, ions and transmitters.
> 
I hope I cover this in the other post below but in any case:  In your
example of the crowd, it is only necessary to distinguish the emergent
properties for analysis by observers.  If the patterns are found by
this analysis to be causal to some later event then we can form higher
level descriptions of crowds and construct a theory.  Thats fine and I
agree.  However those emergent properties only actually *exist* in the
theory.  If the emergent properties are causal for example then they
will be even without such a description becuase that property is
inherent to that crowd.  As you say, no one person in that crowd will
have the specified property but the crowd will act like it had that
property.  It is not actually *in* the crowd but something you
abstract from obervation.  It similarly wasn't there before you
observed it but the crowd still acted in the same way.  Abstracting
information from the crowd to form a singluar property is something
the observer does, but the crowd itself doesn't do this.  It acts like
it had a singular property but doesn't in fact *have* it.

A similar example is osmotic motion by water from areas of dilute
solute concentration to regions of higher solute concentration
(through a semi-permeable membrane etc etc).  At our level what we
observe is water moving from the low area to the high.  What actually
happens is that the motion of water molecules is entirely random,
there is no *force* driving or attracting them to the region of high
solute.  Water moleules can just as easily move in the *reverse*
direction, however as there are more likely to move in the low to high
direction, we can abstract a notion of 'directed movement' due to the
differing concentrations and then build a theory saying that water
tends to equilibrate regions of differing concentrations by force of
osmosis.  This is convenient for our theories but this notion only
actually *exists* there, not in the water which just follows physcial
laws and apparently does these things but still does equilibrate the
concentrations nonetheless.   Again the way Ive tried to explain is
likely not very good.




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