Patrick McGivern University of Wollongong
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  • Faculty, University of Wollongong
  • PhD, University of Alberta, 2005.

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About me
I am a philosopher at the University of Wollongong. I am especially interested in the concepts of reduction, emergence, levels, and fundamentality in the physical sciences.
My works
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  1. Patrick McGivern (2013). Emergent Expertise? Educational Philosophy and Theory:1-17.
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  2. Patrick McGivern (2012). Levels of Reality and Scales of Application. In Alexander Bird, Brian Ellis & Howard Sankey (eds.), Properties, Powers and Structures: Issues in the Metaphysics of Realism. Routledge.
    Philosophers and scientists often describe theories, laws, and explanations as applying to the world at different 'levels'. The idea of a 'level of application' is often used to demarcate disciplinary or sub-disciplinary boundaries in the sciences. For instance, stoichiometric laws and quantum mechanical laws might be said to describe chemical phenomena at different levels. More generally, the idea of levels is used to distinguish more fundamental laws or theories from less fundamental ones: more fundamental theories are those that apply at (...)
     
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  3. Patrick McGivern & Alexander Rueger (2010). Emergence in Physics. In Antonella Corradini & Timothy O'Connor (eds.), Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Routledge. 6--213.
    We examine cases of emergent behavior in physics, and argue for an account of emergence based on features of the phase space portraits of certain dynamical systems. On our account, the phase space portraits of systems displaying emergent behavior are topologically inequivalent to those of the systems from which they ‘emerge’. This account gives us an objective sense in which emergent phenomena are qualitatively novel, without involving the difficulties associated with downward causation and the like. We also argue that the (...)
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  4. Alexander Rueger & Patrick McGivern (2010). Hierarchies and Levels of Reality. Synthese 176 (3):379 - 397.
    We examine some assumptions about the nature of 'levels of reality' in the light of examples drawn from physics. Three central assumptions of the standard view of such levels (for instance, Oppenheim and Putnam 1958) are (i) that levels are populated by entities of varying complexity, (ii) that there is a unique hierarchy of levels, ranging from the very small to the very large, and (iii) that the inhabitants of adjacent levels are related by the parthood relation. Using examples from (...)
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  5. Patrick McGivern (2009). Tim Maudlin, The Metaphysics Within Physics Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 28 (1):54-56.
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  6. Ioan Muntean, Patrick McGivern & Dean Rickles (2009). Reviews. [REVIEW] Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):107 – 121.
  7. P. McGivern (2008). Tim Maudlin, The Metaphysics Within Physics. Philosophy in Review 28 (1):54.
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  8. Patrick McGivern (2008). Reductive Levels and Multi-Scale Structure. Synthese 165 (1):53 - 75.
    I discuss arguments about the relationship between different “levels” of explanation in the light of examples involving multi-scale analysis. I focus on arguments about causal competition between properties at different levels, such as Jaegwon Kim’s “supervenience argument.” A central feature of Kim’s argument is that higher-level properties can in general be identified with “micro-based” properties. I argue that explanations from multi-scale analysis give examples of explanations that are problematic for accounts such as Kim’s. I argue that these difficulties suggest that (...)
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  9. Patrick McGivern (2003). Peter Kosso, Knowing The Past: Philosophical Issues of History and Archaeology Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 23 (2):112-114.
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  10. Patrick McGivern (2002). Brian Ellis, Scientific Essentialism Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 22 (4):269-271.
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  11. Glenn Parsons & Patrick McGivern (2001). Can the Bundle Theory Save Substantivalism From the Hole Argument? Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S358-.
    One of the most serious theoretical obstacles to contemporary spacetime substantivalism is Earman and Norton's hole argument. We argue that applying the bundle theory of substance to spacetime points allows spacetime substantivalists to escape the conclusion of this argument. Some philosophers have claimed that the bundle theory cannot be applied to substantival spacetime in this way due to problems in individuating spacetime points in symmetrical spacetimes. We demonstrate that it is possible to overcome these difficulties if spatiotemporal properties are viewed (...)
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