Evolution: Emergent and Resultant


IN adhering to the position already outlined (NATURE, July 16, p. 81), I should like to suggest further that there is a fundamental distinction between what happens to be inferable “on the basis of existing knowledge”, and what is not inferable under any intellectual conditions whatsoever. (In the present connexion ‘inferable’ is more relevant than ‘deducible’, since not deduction alone, but all forms of inference, are legitimate.) What was not inferable by their predecessors, for example, was inferred by Newton and Darwin themselves. But it is often argued that the existence and qualities of certain “integral wholes” can never be inferred and explained from “the most complete knowledge”—not merely “existing knowledge”—about their constituents possessed by any finite mind whatever. (I exclude infinite mind in order to limit the discussion.)

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TURNER, J. Evolution: Emergent and Resultant. Nature 120, 261–262 (1927) doi:10.1038/120261b0

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