The physics of matter in the condensed state is concerned with problems in which the number of constituent particles is vastly greater than can be easily comprehended. The inherent physical limitations of the human mind are fundamental and restrict the way in which we can interact with and learn about the universe. This presents challenges for developing scientific explanations that are met by emergent narratives, concepts and arguments that have a non- trivial relationship to the underlying microphysics. By examining examples within condensed matter physics, and also from cellular automata, I show how such emergent narratives efficiently describe elements of reality.
Emergence, causation and storytelling: condensed matter physics and the limitations of the human mind
S. J. Blundell
Philosophica 92, 139 (2017)
See also the News and Views article by Philip Ball.