Rising out of a surrounding medium.
C.D. Broad used the term
emergent in his fine "The Mind And Its Place In Nature" to
qualify the type of materialism he was
prepared to defend, namely emergent materialism, since for Broad it seemed as
if the mental qualia do arise out of a physical
substratum, without being fully reducible to that substratum, since mental
qualia have properties and relations non-mental things or processes lack.
The word has since been used by many in a more or less similar sense, but
the actual process by which new properties and relations arise from a set of
things and its context or medium is rarely well explained, and indeed may be
Even so, the notion is sound, if not obviously easily applicable to the
relation between mental qualia and the physics and chemistry of
brains, since most biological development (from
baby to graybeard, from grub to butterfly) seems to involve emergent
Also, the notion is sound in the elementary sense that it seems quite obvious that thing with parts (that are usually also things) do have some properties the parts do not have. The problem of emergence with regards to qualia or life is how mental qualia or properties characteristic for living things can arise ("emerrge", be produced) from the properties of parts that lack them.