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Chess: the classic example of Emergence Theory

Emergence Theory describes how simple rules interact together and result in growth and development, but not always in ways we can predict. Chess if often used as a great example of Emergence Theory in action. Governed by relatively few simple rules, complex and fascinating outcomes can be seen in the game between two skilled players. The outcome of the game is unpredictable, precisely because such simple rules can lead to complex unpredictable results. However, we're not seeking unpredictable results. We don't want to play games. We're seeking specific positive outcomes.

 

Rules, or laws, have no causal efficacy; they do not in fact "generate" anything. They serve merely to describe regularities and consistent relationships in nature. These patterns may be very illuminating and important, but the underlying causal agencies must be separately specified (though often they are not). But that aside, the game of chess illustrates precisely why any laws or rules of emergence and evolution are insufficient.

Even in a chess game, you cannot use the rules to predict "history" i.e., the course of any given game. Indeed, you cannot even reliably predict the next move in a chess game.

Why?

Because the "system" involves more than the rules of the game. It also includes the players and their unfolding, moment-by-moment decisions among a very large number of available options at each choice point.  (Corning 2002) (Wikipedia)

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