Emergence : from chaos to order

by John H. Holland

Paper Book, 1998





Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley, c1998.


In this important book, John H. Holland dramatically shows us that the "emergence” of order from disorder has much to teach us about life, mind and organizations. Creative activities in both the arts and the sciences depend upon an ability to model the world. The most creative of those models exhibits emergent properties, so that "what comes out is more than what goes in.” From the ingenious checkers-playing computer that started beating its creator in game after game, to the emotive creations of the poet, Emergence shows that Holland’s theory successfully predicts many complex behaviors in art and science.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MyopicBookworm
I have to say that I found this book less interesting than I had hoped. Coming to it with a biologist's interest in the emergence of complexity from simple systems, I found its detailed discussion of formal computer algorithms such as checkers-playing programs partly impenetrable (even though the serious maths is segregated into text boxes), and the dryness of the subject didn't make me want to penetrate it further. The discussion of scientific models and metaphors in general seemed simultaneously superficial (compared to what I have encountered from philosophers of science), and too detailed in specific areas of information theory that I don't appreciate. This book didn't grab me. It might interest students of information theory or computing theory, but I think most general readers would find it arid. MB 31-viii-2008… (more)


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