David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal for Philosophy of Science 61 (2):279-311 (2010)
Some claim that Non-reductive Physicalism (NRP) is an unstable position, on grounds that NRP either collapses into reductive physicalism (contra Non-reduction ), or expands into emergentism of a robust or ‘strong’ variety (contra Physicalism ). I argue that this claim is unfounded, by attention to the notion of a degree of freedom—roughly, an independent parameter needed to characterize an entity as being in a state functionally relevant to its law-governed properties and behavior. I start by distinguishing three relations that may hold between the degrees of freedom needed to characterize certain special science entities, and those needed to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities; these correspond to what I call ‘reductions’, ‘restrictions’, and ‘eliminations’ in degrees of freedom. I then argue that eliminations in degrees of freedom, in particular—when strictly fewer degrees of freedom are required to characterize certain special science entities than are required to characterize (systems consisting of) their composing physical (or physically acceptable) entities—provide a basis for making sense of how certain special science entities can be both physically acceptable and ontologically irreducible to physical entities.
|Keywords||nonreductive physicalism non-reductive physicalism degrees of freedom emergence weak emergence|
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Citations of this work BETA
Sara Bernstein (forthcoming). Overdetermination Underdetermined. Erkenntnis:1-24.
Alexander Reutlinger (2014). Can Interventionists Be Neo-Russellians? Interventionism, the Open Systems Argument, and the Arrow of Entropy. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):273-293.
Elanor Taylor (2015). An Explication of Emergence. Philosophical Studies 172 (3):653-669.
Agustin Vicente (2013). Where to Look for Emergent Properties. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (137):156.
Elanor Taylor (forthcoming). Collapsing Emergence. Philosophical Quarterly.
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