The search for ontological emergence

Philosophical Quarterly 50 (195):182-200 (1999)
We survey and clarify some recent appearances of the term ‘emergence’. We distinguish epistemological emergence, which is merely a limitation of descriptive apparatus, from ontological emergence, which should involve causal features of a whole system not reducible to the properties of its parts, thus implying the failure of part/whole reductionism and of mereological supervenience for that system. Are there actually any plausible cases of the latter among the numerous and various mentions of ‘emergence’ in the recent literature? Quantum mechanics seems to offer one, in the Bell properties of entangled particles, but other apparently promising candidates, such as non‐linear dynamical systems investigated by complexity studies and chaos theory, seem on careful analysis to display only epistemological emergence. We examine the consequences for physicalism of admitting ontological emergence in the micro‐physical
Keywords Emergence  Epistemology  Ontology  Reductionism  Kim, J
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 13,597
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Richard Healey (1994). Nonseparable Processes and Causal Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (3):337-374.
Richard A. Healey (1991). Holism and Nonseparability. Journal of Philosophy 88 (8):393-421.

View all 15 references

Citations of this work BETA
Robert Francescotti (2007). Emergence. Erkenntnis 67 (1):47 - 63.

View all 16 citations

Similar books and articles
Andreas Hüttemanna & Orestis Terzidis (2000). Emergence in Physics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3):267 – 281.
Michel Bitbol (2007). Ontology, Matter and Emergence. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (3):293-307.
Mark H. Bickhard (2004). Process and Emergence: Normative Function and Representation. Axiomathes - An International Journal in Ontology and Cognitive Systems 14:135-169.
Michael Silberstein (2006). In Defence of Ontological Emergence and Mental Causation. In Philip Clayton & Paul Sheldon Davies (eds.), The Re-Emergence of Emergence. Oxford University Press. 203.
D. Heard (2006). A New Problem for Ontological Emergence. Philosophical Quarterly 56 (222):55-62.
Andreas Hüttemanna & Orestis Terzidis (2000). Emergence in Physics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3):267-281.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

129 ( #9,696 of 1,692,492 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #28,421 of 1,692,492 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.