The Intrinsic Nature of Emergence


  • Vincent Vesterby


emergence, deep structure, general systems, self-organization, threshold


George Henry Lewes introduced anthropomorphism into the emergence literature. This opened the way for attempts to define emergence with factors that are not relevant to its intrinsic nature. In this paper, the general context of emergence in the universe is presented, mainly in terms of general systems understanding. This is followed by a descriptive definition of the intrinsic nature of emergence, and a discussion of how the process of emergence changes due to the roles of various factors.


Material-reality is composed of elementary particles organized into seemingly endless patterns-of-organization of material structure and process. The difference between the smaller or the simpler patterns and the larger or the more complex patterns is the quantity of elementary particles and the patterns-of-organization of those particles.


Reality is that which exists. There is but one reality—all that exists. Reality develops, that is, everything that exists takes part in one way or another in a universally omnipresent transition, a sequential-difference from  one time, place, part, pattern, level, condition, or situation to another involving some form of enhancement.


Emergence is a type of development. Emergence is a general-factor, a process-pattern-of-organization that plays a universal role in the coming into existence of new pattern-of-material-organization as a consequence of motion. Emergence itself develops, occurring in simple form in situations where few factors are playing roles, and in more complex form in situations where more factors are playing roles. Some additional factors that result in the foundational developments of emergence are combinatorial-enhancement, contact, causal push, throughflow wherein the flow of energy reorganizes matter and blocking matter reorganizes the flow of energy, and coherent bonding of one part of matter with another. Emergence is intrinsically determinate in that, in the process of emergence, the existence and intrinsic qualities of what goes before determine the existence and intrinsic qualities of what follows. Both complexity and the hierarchic organization of material-reality are consequences of emergence.

Author Biography

Vincent Vesterby

Independent Realist Philosopher



How to Cite

Vesterby, V. (2011). The Intrinsic Nature of Emergence. Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2011, Hull, UK, 55(1). Retrieved from