Comment by CLEric on Passing the Recursive Buck · 2008-06-16T12:40:38.000Z · LW · GW

"Therefore a hand is more than just fingers, palm and thumb. Attribute-wise, that's all it is, but action wise, the hand has a new ability ("grasping") that the component objects don't have."

But "grasping" is itself composed of actions and abilities already contained in the parts of the hand. Sorting into objects and actions, there's an analogy: the hand is the sum of fingers, palm, and thumb, and grasping is the sum of particular muscles contracting to pull tendons in (each of) the fingers, palm, and thumb. Saying that a new ability ("grasping") arose from the addition is just like saying that a new attribute ("hand-ness") arose as well.