Yudkowsky write something like “saying something is ’emergent’ is often used as a substitute for ‘magical’.”

Fair point, as a criticism of the way the word is used, as if it were an explanation rather than an admission of ignorance.

Sometimes it can mean the exact opposite. If I write “Consciousness is an emergent properties of neurons doing something or other” I am asserting that neurons are all you need to explain consciousness. It doesn’t explain a mechanism, but it does assert that consciousness is solely a property of simple well specified interactions between neurons, in aggregate.

That was just an example, I don’t really have an opinion about whether consciousness can in fact be explained with just neurons.


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