Process and emergence: Normative function and representation

Emergence seems necessary for any naturalistic account of the world — none of our familiar world existed at the time of the Big Bang, and it does now — and normative emergence is necessary for any naturalistic account of biology and mind — mental phenomena, such as representation, learning, rationality, and so on, are normative. But Jaegwon Kim’s argument appears to render causally efficacious emergence impossible, and Hume’s argument appears to render normative emergence impossible, and, in its general form, it precludes any emergence at all. I argue that both of these barriers can be overcome, and, in fact, that they each constitute reductios of their respective underlying presuppositions. In particular, causally efficacious ontological emergence can be modeled, but only within a process metaphysics, thus avoiding Kim’s argument, and by making use of non-abbreviatory forms of definition, thus avoiding Hume’s argument. I illustrate these points with models of the emergent nature of normative function and of representation.
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