David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Axiomathes 21 (1):33-56 (2011)
The development of a defensible and fecund notion of emergence has been dogged by a number of threshold issues neatly highlighted in a recent paper by Jaegwon Kim. We argue that physicalist assumptions confuse and vitiate the whole project. In particular, his contention that emergence entails supervenience is contradicted by his own argument that the ‘microstructure’ of an object belongs to the whole object, not to its constituents. And his argument against the possibility of downward causation is question-begging and makes false assumptions about causal sufficiency. We argue, on the contrary, for a rejection of the deeply entrenched assumption, shared by physicalists and Cartesians alike, that what basically exists are things (entities, substances). Our best physics tells us that there are no basic particulars, only fields in process. We need an ontology which gives priority to organization, which is inherently relational. Reflection upon the fact that all biological creatures are far-from-equilibrium systems, whose very persistence depend upon their interactions with their environment, reveals incoherence in the notion of an ‘emergence base’
|Keywords||Physicalism Supervenience Emergence Reduction Processes Downward causation|
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Mark H. Bickhard (2000). Emergence. In P.B. Andersen, Claus Emmeche, N.O. Finnemann & P.V. Christiansen (eds.), Downward Causation. University of Aarhus Press 322-348.
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Citations of this work BETA
Michel Bitbol (2012). Downward Causation Without Foundations. Synthese 185 (2):233-255.
Matteo Mossio, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno (2013). Emergence, Closure and Inter-Level Causation in Biological Systems. Erkenntnis 78 (2):153-178.
Stephen Pratten (2013). Critical Realism and the Process Account of Emergence. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 43 (3):251-279.
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A. M. Soto, C. Sonnenschein & P. A. Miquel (2008). On Physicalism and Downward Causation in Developmental and Cancer Biology. Acta Biotheoretica 56 (4):257-274.
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