It has become a truism that the brain is a complex structure. One idea associated with complex systems is that of emergence, which is often characterized as the occurrence of a novel collective property that results from the interactions of individual parts, each of which alone do not have that property. Pessoa in his book argues, plausibly, that given that cognition is the most complex thing the brain does then it will need a new emergence-inflected science to understand it. His subsequent argument, however, does not follow, namely that this will take the form of distributed networks with identity-switching nodes that morph pluripotently from one computation to another. This is not true for whole organisms, which became more complex through compartmentalization and specialization. The brain did the same with hierarchically organized specialized areas.

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