John Collier

collierJohn Collier

Is  a philosopher interested in reconciling the foundations of various different fields. He has worked with people in evolutionary and developmental biology and systematics, ecology, economics, philosophy of language, cognitive science, physics and planetary science, among others. He has worked in six countries on five continents and likes to take a global perspective. Incidentally, he is interested in problems of interdisciplinary (and sometimes within discipline) communication. He is recently retired and plans to continue his research through visiting new places and through further collaborations.


Long bio:

What fascinates you about your field of research?

It never ceases to amaze me that even very complex things can become remarkably simple once you understand them. One of the biggest obstacles to understanding is to raise objections too early. Systems Theory is the only perspective that applies to everything in much the same way.

Where do you see or would like to see the field heading?

I would hope to see greater unification through a more encompassing perspective. People tend to get caught up in their own specialized approaches and idiolect, even in Systems Theory.
What fascinates you about “A dynamical interpretation of emergence and its consequences”? In your own words: Why should people go there?

Typical approaches to emergence have been logical, giving necessary and sufficient conditions for emergence. These conditions are hard to recognize and even harder to test. A dynamical account of emergence from which the logical conditions can be derived gives us a criterion that we can test for in real systems, as well as clarify what emergence means and what its implications are.

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