Letter | Published:

Evolution: Emergent and Resultant

Naturevolume 120page81 (1927) | Download Citation



This attitude is plainly an appeal to the ignorance which prevails at any given moment; and it at once destroys any absolute distinction between the emergent and the resultant. Now the trend of research, in my opinion, undeniably involves this loss of absoluteness, as Dr. Chalmers Mitchell maintains. For while it will always be impossible to deduce the macroscopic qualities of combinations from the macroscopic qualities of their elements, the more complete knowledge of microscopic and ultra-microscopic qualities does enable the qualities of combinations to be both explained and predicted. In this respect success depends on the capacity of the inquiring mind; so that as mind evolves, emergents must give way to resultants. If, for example, we accept Prof. Morgan's criterion, then to Galileo electromagnetic storms, due to solar radiation, would be emergent, while to us they are resultant. Similarly, many of the phenomena presented by vitamins, not being as yet deducible, are still emergent, but will probably be resultant for future bio-chemistry.

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  1. University of Liverpool

    • J. E. TURNER


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