Is there a need for a distinctively diachronic conception of metaphysical emergence? Here I argue to the contrary. In the main, my strategy consists in considering a representative sample of accounts of purportedly diachronic metaphysical emergence, and arguing that in each case, the purportedly diachronic emergence at issue either can (and should) be subsumed under a broadly synchronic account of metaphysical emergence, or else is better seen as simply a case of causation. In addition, I consider and argue against the (...) suggestion that 'in-principle unpredictability' accounts of diachronic emergence support there being distinctively diachronic metaphysical emergence. (shrink)
We examine Sophie Gibb’s emergent property-dualist theory of mental causation as double-prevention. Her account builds on a commitment to a version of causal realism based on a powers metaphysic. We consider three objections to her account. We show, by drawing out the implications of the ontological commitments of Gibb’s theory of mental causation, that the first two objections fail. But, we argue, owing to worries about cases where there is no double-preventive role to be played by mental properties, her account, (...) which solely affords mental properties a double-preventive role, is incomplete and vulnerable to a causal exclusion objection. We propose a friendly modification to her theory of mental causation that is consistent with her theory’s ontological commitments. Specifically, we sketch an account on which mental properties have a more pronounced causal-structuring role that is not exhausted by the role Gibb assigns them as double-preventers. The result is a novel emergentist theory of mental causation. (shrink)
I exploit parallel considerations in the philosophy of mind and metaethics to argue that the reasoning employed in an important argument for panpsychism overgeneralizes to support an analogous position in metaethics: panmoralism. Next, I raise a number of problems for panmoralism and thereby build a case for taking the metaethical parallel to be a reductio ad absurdum of the argument for panpsychism. Finally, I contrast panmoralism with a position recently defended by Einar Duenger Bohn and argue that the two suffer (...) from similar problems. I conclude by drawing some general lessons for panpsychism. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Lewtas  recently articulated an argument claiming that emergent conscious causal powers are impossible. In developing his argument, Lewtas makes several assumptions about emergence, phenomenal consciousness, categorical properties, and causation. We argue that there are plausible alternatives to these assumptions. Thus, the proponent of emergent conscious causal powers can escape Lewtas’s challenge.
Russellian monism – an influential doctrine proposed by Russell (1927/1992) – is roughly the view that the natural sciences can only ever tell us about the causal, dispositional, and structural properties of physical entities and not about their categorical properties, and, moreover, that our qualia are constituted by categorical properties. Recently, Stoljar (2001a, 2001b), Strawson (2008), Montero (2010, 2015), Alter and Nagasawa (2012), and Chalmers (2015) have attempted to develop this doctrine into a version of physicalism. Russellian monism faces the (...) so-called combination problem, according to which it is difficult to see how categorical properties could collectively constitute qualia. In this paper, I suggest that there is an insufficiently discussed aspect of the combination problem which I call the difference-maker problem. Taking the difference-maker problem into account, I argue that the combination problem – whether or not it can be solved – results in a dilemma for the project of developing Russellian physicalism. That is, Russellian monism is either physicalistically unacceptable or it is implausible; hence, Russellian monism and physicalism are incompatible. (shrink)
Both the special sciences and ordinary experience suggest that there are metaphysically emergent entities and features: macroscopic goings-on (including mountains, trees, humans, and sculptures, and their characteristic properties) which depend on, yet are distinct from and distinctively efficacious with respect to, lower-level physical configurations and features. These appearances give rise to two key questions. First, what is metaphysical emergence, more precisely? Second, is there any metaphysical emergence, in principle and moreover in fact? Metaphysical Emergence provides clear and systematic answers to (...) these questions. Wilson argues that there are two, and only two, forms of metaphysical emergence of the sort seemingly at issue in the target cases: 'Weak' emergence, whereby a dependent feature has a proper subset of the powers of the feature upon it depends, and 'Strong' emergence, whereby a dependent feature has a power not had by the feature upon which it depends. Weak emergence unifies and illuminates seemingly diverse accounts of non-reductive physicalism; Strong emergence does the same as regards seemingly diverse anti-physicalist views positing fundamental novelty at higher levels of compositional complexity. After defending the in-principle viability of each form of emergence, Wilson considers whether complex systems, ordinary objects, consciousness, and free will are actually metaphysically emergent. She argues that Weak emergence is quite common, and that there is Strong emergence in the important case of free will. (shrink)
This paper explores and defends the idea that mental properties and their physical bases jointly cause their physical effects. The paper evaluates the view as an emergentist response to the exclusion problem, comparing it with a competing nonreductive physicalist solution, the compatibilist solution, and argues that the joint causation view is more defensible than commonly supposed. Specifically, the paper distinguishes two theses of closure, Strong Closure and Weak Closure, two causal exclusion problems, the overdetermination problem and the supervenience problem, and (...) argues that emergentists can avoid the overdetermination problem by denying Strong Closure and respond to the supervenience problem by accepting the joint causation view. (shrink)
Espousing non-reductive physicalism, how do we pick out the specific relevant physical notion(s) from physical facts, specifically in relation to phenomenal experience? Beginning with a historical review of Gilbert Ryle’s behaviorism and moving through Hilary Putnam’s machine-state functionalism and Wilfrid Sellars’ inferential framework, up to more contemporaneous computationalist- and cognitivist-functionalism (Gualtiero Piccinini), we survey accounts of mentality that countenance the emergence of mental states vide input- and output-scheme. Ultimately arriving at the conclusion that functionalism cannot account for problems such as (...) no-cognition reports, we see any robust defense of physicalism must appeal to other principles. Thus we move on to the question of emergence, not as it pertains to the hard(er) problem, but to the matter of conceptual externalization of mental properties from physical properties. Accordingly, we navigate Karen Bennett’s compatibilist solution to the exclusion argument against mental causation for the non-reductive physicalist position, according to which the physical effects of mental cases are not overdetermined, demonstrating that this backfires by offering a path for the mind-body interactionist Dualist to claim causal closure by appealing to this same schema. We conclude with a series of conceptual musings regarding rationality which take into account our challenges and findings, querying about whether phenomenal consciousness is a fundamentally private, or socially configured, notion. (shrink)
Among worldviews, in addition to the options of materialist atheism, pantheism and personal theism, there exists a fourth, “local emergentism”. It holds that there are no gods, nor does the universe overall have divine aspects or any purpose. But locally, in our region of space and time, the properties of matter have given rise to entities which are completely different from matter in kind and to a degree god-like: consciousnesses with rational powers and intrinsic worth. The emergentist option is compared (...) with the standard alternatives and the arguments for and against it are laid out. It is argued that, among options in the philosophy of religion, it involves the minimal reworking of the manifest image of common sense. Hence it deserves a place at the table in arguments as to the overall nature of the universe. (shrink)
The explosion of interest in consciousness among scientists in recent decades has led to a revival of interest in the work of Whitehead. This has been associated with the challenge of biophysics to molecular biology in efforts to understand the nature of life. Some claim that it is only through quantum field theory that consciousness will be made intelligible. Most, although not all work in this area, focusses on the brain and how it could give rise to consciousness. In this (...) paper, I will support this challenge, but I will suggest that the focus of work in this area reflects the failure to fully overcome the assumptions of Cartesian thought, associated above all with a defective understanding of consciousness as a ‘thinking substance’. Firstly, as Bergson, Whitehead and Merleau-Ponty argued, consciousness is embodied. Secondly, as Jacob von Uexküll argued, consciousness is only comprehensible in relation to the organism’s world defined as such by the organism. Thirdly, in the case of humans, this is a ‘with-world’, a world shared with others. The consequent social nature of human consciousness is better captured by the German word for mind: Geist, which also translates as ‘Spirit’. And as Hegel argued, along with Subjective Spirit, there is also Objective Spirit, the realm of institutions, and Absolute Spirit, the realm of culture, with Subjective, Objective and Absolute Spirit being conditions, and even components, of each other. My argument is that this broader notion of mind as Spirit should be embraced, but without abandoning the work in biophysics. What is required is a further expansion of the notion of mind and Spirit as humanity comes to appreciate that it is part of nature and that it is through the development of institutions and culture that nature, through human subjects, is becoming conscious of itself and its significance. The development of process philosophy inspired by Whitehead, associated with the development of the concepts of field and ecology, should be seen as a development of the semiosphere and the advance of the Spirit of Gaia, essential for the creation of a global civilization able to augment the life of the current regime of the global ecosystem of which we are part. It is to orient humanity to create an ecologically sustainable civilization; an ecological civilization. (shrink)
This paper first explores in detail a regenerated theory in philosophy of mind, known among contemporary philosophers as ‘emergentism’. By distinguishing strong and weak versions of the theory, I explain two important explanatory challenges presented by physicalists against this theory. In the following, I provide a brief overview of Sadr al-Muta’allihin’s theory of the incipience and degrees of the soul, examining similarities and differences between this theory and strong emergentism. Then, underlining the main aspects of similarity between the two theories, (...) I consider the challenges presented by physicalists against emergentism as reconstructible against Sadra’s theory. Surveying some explanations by Sadraean philosophers of the soul-body relationship, I ultimately argue that Sadra’s theory is inadequate in face of the objections and doubts raised by contemporary physicalists. My assessment is that Sadra’s philosophy is in need of further development to meet those explanatory challenges. (shrink)
The thesis that follows proffers a solution to the mind-matter problem, the problem as to how mind and matter relate. The proposed solution herein is a variant of panpsychism – the theory that all (pan) has minds (psyche) – that we name pansentient monism. By defining the suffix 'psyche' of panpsychism, i.e. by analysing what 'mind' is (Chapter 1), we thereby initiate the effacement of the distinction between mind and matter, and thus advance a monism. We thereafter critically examine the (...) prevalent view, antithetical to a pansentient monism, that mind is not identical to matter but emergent therefrom (Chapter 2). This anti-emergentist critique acts also as a fortification of the Genetic Argument for panpsychism: if mind is not emergent (nor distinct) from matter, mind must always have existed with matter. But what is 'matter'? Chapter 3 investigates what we understand by 'matter', or 'the physical', and exposes it as a highly deficient concept and percept that in concreto points to its identity with that denoted by 'mind'. This also acts as a fortification of the Abstraction Argument for panpsychism, employing a new taxonomy of physicalism and a new taxonomy of the varieties of abstraction. Thus do we reach a monism that is a parsimonious psycho-physical identity theory. But here we face what can be called The Identity Problem for Panpsychism: if our panpsychism is a psycho-physical identity theory, how can it respond to the powerful objections that beset the identity theory of the twentieth century? In Chapter 4 it will be argued that, like emergentism, this psycho-neural identity theory presupposed a deficient concept of 'matter', down to which mind was reduced away, let alone identified. But to identify down phenomena to what is actually an abstraction is to commit failure of explanation. When the theory is amended accordingly, we move from a psycho-neural identity theory to a genuine psycho-physical identity theory that as such can overcome the aforementioned identity problem. Furthermore, as Chapter 5 clarifies, our pansentient monism has, in addition to parsimony, the explanatory power to resolve the problem of mental causation that afflicts both the reductive physicalism of psycho-neural identity theory and the non-reductive physicalism of emergentism, by genuinely identifying physical and mental causation. Jaegwon Kim considers the place of consciousness in a physical world and the nature of mental causation to be the two key components of the mind-matter problem. Through the critical analysis of our prosaic understanding of mind and matter in this thesis, which incorporates the thought of both classical and contemporary thinkers through a novel fusion, it is hoped that both components are addressed and redressed. That is to say that I present this pansentient monism as a plausible, parsimonious, explanatory, and thus, I think, powerful position towards this ever-perplexing mind-matter mystery. -/- [This thesis was passed in January 2019 with viva examination from Galen Strawson and Joel Krueger. (shrink)
A groundbreaking collection of contemporary essays from leading international scholars that provides a balanced and expert account of the resurgent debate about substance dualism and its physicalist alternatives. Substance dualism has for some time been dismissed as an archaic and defeated position in philosophy of mind, but in recent years, the topic has experienced a resurgence of scholarly interest and has been restored to contemporary prominence by a growing minority of philosophers prepared to interrogate the core principles upon which past (...) objections and misunderstandings rest. As the first book of its kind to bring together a collection of contemporary writing from top proponents and critics in a pro-contra format, The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism captures this ongoing dialogue and sets the stage for rigorous and lively discourse around dualist and physicalist accounts of human persons in philosophy. Chapters explore emergent, Thomistic, Cartesian, and other forms of substance dualism—broadly conceived—in dialogue with leading varieties of physicalism, including animalism, non-reductive physicalism, and constitution theory. Loose, Menuge, and Moreland pair essays from dualist advocates with astute criticism from physicalist opponents and vice versa, highlighting points of contrast for readers in thematic sections while showcasing today’s leading minds engaged in direct debate. Taken together, essays provide nuanced paths of introduction for students, and capture the imagination of professional philosophers looking to expand their understanding of the subject. Skillfully curated and in touch with contemporary science as well as analytic theology, The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism strikes a measured balanced between advocacy and criticism, and is a first-rate resource for researchers, scholars, and students of philosophy, theology, and neuroscience. (shrink)
This paper offers a qualified defense of Terry Horgan’s view of brute, inexplicable supervenience theses as physically unacceptable—as having no place in physicalist metaphysics—and his corresponding emphasis on the importance of “superdupervenience”, metaphysical supervenience that can be explained in a “materialistically acceptable” way. I argue, in response to Tom Polger, that it may be possible to ground the physical unacceptability of brute supervenience in its relation physically unacceptable properties supervening on physical properties; moreover, I argue that Horgan’s emphasis on the (...) need for superdupervenience cannot be rejected as unreasonably demanding for the reasons that Polger offers. I furthermore respond to Jessica Wilson’s reasons for thinking that superdupervenience is neither necessary nor sufficient for physical acceptability. Reflection on these topics helps to bring out several issues about the role of supervenience in physicalist metaphysics and ultimately a problem that any supervenience-based approach to physicalism may face. (shrink)
Brute facts are facts that don't have explanations. They are instrumental in our attempts to give accounts of other facts or phenomena, and so they play a key role in many philosophers' views about the structure of the world. This volume explores neglected questions about the nature of brute facts and their explanatory role.
Some claim that the notion of strong emergence as involving ontological or causal novelty makes no sense, on grounds that any purportedly strongly emergent features or associated powers 'collapse', one way or another, into the lower-level base features upon which they depend. Here we argue that there are several independently motivated and defensible means of preventing the collapse of strongly emergent features or powers into their lower-level bases, as directed against a conception of strongly emergent features as having fundamentally novel (...) powers. After introducing the project (Section 1), we motivate and present the powers-based account (Section 2); we then canvass the two main versions of the collapse objection, show how these apply to the powers-based account, and problematize certain strategies of response (Section 3); we then present and defend four better strategies of response (Section 4). (shrink)
This article, the first of a two-part essay, presents an account of Aristotelian hylomorphic animalism that engages with recent work on neuroscience and philosophy of mind. I show that Aristotelian hylomorphic animalism is compatible with the new mechanist approach to neuroscience and psychology, but that it is incompatible with strong emergentism in the philosophy of mind. I begin with the basic claims of Aristotelian hylomorphic animalism and focus on its understanding of psychological powers embodied in the nervous system. Next, I (...) introduce the new mechanist approach to neuroscience and psychology and illustrate how it can enrich the more abstract ontological framework of Aristotelian hylomorphic animalism. In the third section of this article I establish in detail the many ways Aristotelian hylomorphic animalism is incompatible with strong emergentism in the philosophy of mind. Based on these fundamental differences I show why a criticism leveled against emergentism by the new mechanist philosophy does not hamper my proposed rapprochement between hylomorphism and the new mechanist philosophy. This conclusion, however, leaves untouched the problem I address in the second article, namely, is the new mechanist philosophy compatible with Aristotelian philosophical anthropology’s contention that intellectual operations are immaterial and interact with the psychosomatic operations of the rational animal? (shrink)
In this paper, I shall argue that both emergence and downward causation, which are strongly interconnected, presuppose the presence of levels of reality. However, emergence and downward causation pull in opposite directions with respect to my best reconstruction of what levels are. The upshot is that emergence stresses the autonomy among levels while downward causation puts the distinction between levels at risk of a reductio ad absurdum, with the further consequence of blurring the very notion of downward. Therefore, emergence and (...) downward causation are not fit to each other vis-a-vis the concept of level. (shrink)
This paper argues that emergent conscious properties can't bestow emergent causal powers. It supports this conclusion by way of a dilemma. Necessarily, an emergent conscious property brings about its effects actively or other than actively. If actively, then, the paper argues, the emergent conscious property can't have causal powers at all. And if other than actively, then, the paper argues, the emergentist finds himself committed to incompatible accounts of causation.
The Quest for Emergence is a comprehensive philosophical introduction to emergence. It includes the illustration and discussion of the major varieties of emergentism. The book also introduces many scientific examples of emergence and all the problems and objections affecting emergentism. In the introduction, the author provides a characterization of emergence and of some key distinctions: for example, the one between weak and strong emergence. The second chapter contains a short history of British Emergentism. The configurational forces objection against emergentism is (...) also discussed. In the third chapter, some cases of weak and strong emergence taken from different scientific disciplines are described in an accessible and informal language. Emergence is considered in physics, chemistry, biology, the neurosciences and informatics, psychology, sociology and economics. In the fourth chapter, the worst enemy of emergentists is introduced: micro-physicalism. All the problems and objections against emergentism are presented and discussed, including Jaegwon Kim’s arguments. After having recalled in the fifth chapter all the desiderata a good emergentist theory should be able to satisfy and all the problems it should be able to solve, the author devotes the sixth chapter to examining many current varieties of emergentism. Finally, in the seventh chapter, he draws a sketch of his own emergentist theory, which is based on two ideas: emergence primarily concerns powers; emergents exercise downward causation through formal influence. (shrink)
Downward causation is a widespread and problematic phenomenon. It is typically defined as the causation of lower-level effects by higher-level entities. Downward causation is widespread, as there are many examples of it across different sciences: a cell constraints what happens to its own constituents; a body regulates its own processes; two atoms, when they are appropriately related, make it the case that their own electrons are distributed in certain ways. However, downward causation is also problematic. Roughly, it seems to be (...) at odds with specific scientific and/or epistemological desiderata: first and foremost, that everything can be reduced (one day or another) to the fundamental, micro-physical constituents and goings-on of the universe, so as to provide a unified explanation of everything and a unification of all the sciences " from the bottom ". Indeed, downward causation (if it is an irreducible phenomenon) introduces special causings not only at the higher levels, but also at the lower ones: if, in principle, we cannot fully understand what happens to the electrons without paying attention to the atoms (at the higher level) and we cannot fully understand what happens to the atoms by only paying attention to the electrons (at the lower level), there is no fully lower-level explanation for both higher-level and lower-level goings-on. In this introduction, we shall try to describe the prospects for downward causation in metaphysics and the philosophy of science. After having delved into the connections between downward causation, emergence and levels (§1), we shall discuss the irreducibility of downward causation (§2). We shall then briefly consider how specific metaphysical and epistemological assumptions bear on our understanding of downward causation and of its possibility (§3) and describe some views according to which downward causation is actually non-causal (or it is a special causal relation) (§4). We shall also mention some problems for the connection between downward causation and mental causation (§5) and some scientific examples of downward causation (§6). Finally, we shall summarize the contents of the contributions in this book (§7). (shrink)
Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical. But what does it mean to say that everything is physical? Daniel Stoljar has recently argued that no account of the physical is available which allows for a formulation of physicalism that is both possibly true and deserving of the name. As against this claim, I argue that a version of the via negativa—roughly, the view that the physical is to be characterised in terms of the nonmental—provides just such an account.
Are the special sciences autonomous from physics? Those who say they are need to explain how dependent special science properties could feature in irreducible causal explanations, but that’s no easy task. The demands of a broadly physicalist worldview require that such properties are not only dependent on the physical, but also physically realized. Realized properties are derivative, so it’s natural to suppose that they have derivative causal powers. Correspondingly, philosophical orthodoxy has it that if we want special science properties to (...) bestow genuinely new causal powers, we must reject physical realization and embrace a form of emergentism, in which such properties arise from the physical by mysterious brute determination. In this paper, I argue that contrary to this orthodoxy, there are physically realized properties that bestow new causal powers in relation to their realizers. The key to my proposal is to reject causal-functional accounts of realization and embrace a broader account that allows for the realization of shapes and patterns. Unlike functional properties, such properties are defined by qualitative, non-causal specifications, so realizing them does not consist in bestowing causal powers. This, I argue, allows for causal novelty of the strongest kind. I argue that the molecular geometry of H2O—a qualitative, multiply realizable property—plays an irreducible role in explaining its dipole moment, and thereby bestows novel powers. On my proposal, special science properties can have the kind of causal novelty traditionally associated with strong emergence, without any of the mystery. (shrink)
Human bodies have a totally different mode of existence from those collections of mental properties (intelligence, will power, consciousness, etc.) that we call minds. They belong to the ontological category of physical substances or entities, whereas mental properties belong to the ontological category of properties or attributes, and as such can exist only so long as their physical bearers exist. Mental properties “emerge” (in a sense that makes emergence ubiquitous throughout the natural world) when the constituent parts of a biological (...) organism—especially its brain—are configured in certain sorts of ways. A view of reality that is both conceptually coherent and scientifically comprehensive makes the very idea of surviving one’s bodily death literally absurd. -/- 1. The Cheshire Cat Fallacy: “A Grin Without a Cat” -- 2. Two Main Arguments for Substance Dualism - 2.1 An Appeal to the Logic of Identity and Difference - 2.2 An Appeal to the Noncogitative Nature of Matter -- 3. A Host of Problems for Substance Dualism - 3.1 The Inexplicability of Mind-Brain Dependence - 3.2 The Inexplicability of Mental Causation - 3.3 The Violation of Scientific Laws - 3.4 Minds as Miracle-Workers - 3.5 Problems about Our Embryological and Developmental Histories - 3.6 Problems about our Evolutionary Histories - 3.7 Which Stage of the Soul or Mind Survives? - 3.8 Where are our Disembodied Souls Supposed to Survive? -- 4. The Argument from Leibniz’s Law Presupposes a Category Misallocation - 4.1 The Fallacy of Reification - 4.2 Resisting the Reifying Lure of Language - 4.3 Dualistic Consequences of Reifying Mentalistic Terms - 4.4 Allocation to Ontological Categories - 4.5 Locke’s Partial Solution to the Category Misallocation - 4.6 Ryle on Category Mistakes and “the Ghost in the Machine” - 4.7 Ryle’s Important Insight: To Have a Mind is to have a Set of Mental Properties - 4.8 Interim Summary -- 5. The Emergence of “Minds” from Incogitative Matter - 5.1 Locke’s A Priori Argument - 5.2 Locke’s Argument Refuted by Counterexamples - 5.3 The Concept of Emergence Defined - 5.4 Rival Concepts of Emergence - 5.5 The Ubiquitousness of Emergent Properties - 5.6 The Metaphysics of Emergent Materialism - 5.6.1 Substance Monism - 5.6.2 The Doctrine of Property Dualism is Misconceived - 5.6.3 Emergent Properties of Different Kinds - 5.6.4 The “Hierarchy” of Sciences - 5.6.5 The Broad Spectrum of “Mental” Properties -- 6. The Metaphysical Impossibility of Survival - 6.1 Mind-Brain Dependence - 6.2 The Issue of Mental Causation - 6.2.1 The Bogeyman of Epiphenomenalism - 6.3 The Violation of Scientific Laws - 6.4 Minds as Miracle-Workers - 6.5 Our Embryological and Developmental Histories - 6.6 Our Evolutionary Histories -- 7. Conclusion. (shrink)
This paper sketches and motivates a metaphysics of mind that is both substance dualist and, to a large extent, property reductive. Call it “property reductive emergent dualism”. Section “Emergent Dualism” gives the broad outlines of the view. Sections “Problems of Mental Causation” and “Theoretical Virtues” argue that it can claim several advantages over non-reductive physicalist theories of mind. Section “Problems of Mental Causation” considers metaphysical challenges to mental causation in detail. Section “Theoretical Virtues” considers overall theoretical virtues: ontological and ideological (...) economy, unification with physical sciences, the promise of explanatory gain. On these grounds, I propose that the view coupling substance dualism with property reductivism deserves further philosophical attention. (shrink)
This paper proposes that if individual X ‘inherits’ property F from individual Y, we should be leery of explanations that appeal to X’s being F. This bears on what I’ll call “emergent substance dualism”, the view that human persons or selves are metaphysically fundamental or “new kinds of things with new kinds of causal powers” even though they depend in some sense on physical particulars :5–23, 2006; Personal agency. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008). Two of the most prominent advocates of (...) this view, Lynne Rudder Baker and E.J. Lowe, suggest that emergent particulars have physical properties in virtue of the relations they bear to physical particulars—they ‘inherit’ their physical properties. In Sect. 1, I argue that having a property F this way is not instantiating F. In Sect. 2, I raise concerns that if emergent particulars don’t instantiate physical properties, then facts about emergent particulars don’t explain intentional actions. I suggest that emergent dualism would be more attractive if it could avoid this apparent consequence. In Sect. 3, I propose a view according to which some instances of physical properties are instantiated by both an emergent particular and its body. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim’s argument against non-reductive physicalism is well known. Many philosophers take Kim’s argument to also apply to emergentism. But this does not necessarily follow. In this paper, I will first briefly show why Kim’s argument against non-reductive physicalism need not apply to emergentism. Next, I will present a physicalistic account of emergentism offered by Jason Megill in his paper “A Defense of Emergence.” This will be followed by an examination of some of the limitations of Megill’s account, in particular, (...) his failure to adequately account for the causal powers of higher level physical properties independent of realization. Finally, I will offer a suggestion on how Megill might avoid the difficulties raised by appealing to the concept of wide realization espoused by Robert Wilson in his paper “Two Views of Realization.” The overarching theme of the paper centers on the idea that the realization requirement is where the action is, in terms of making emergentism compatible with physicalism, and is capable of being tinkered with by the emergentist and physicalist alike. (shrink)
Motivated by the seeming structure of the sciences, metaphysical emergence combines broadly synchronic dependence coupled with some degree of ontological and causal autonomy. Reflecting the diverse, frequently incompatible interpretations of the notions of dependence and autonomy, however, accounts of emergence diverge into a bewildering variety. Here I argue that much of this apparent diversity is superficial. I first argue, by attention to the problem of higher-level causation, that two and only two strategies for addressing this problem accommodate the genuine emergence (...) of special science entities. These strategies in turn suggest two distinct schema for metaphysical emergence---'Weak' and 'Strong' emergence, respectively. Each schema imposes a condition on the powers of entities taken to be emergent: Strong emergence requires that higher-level features have more token powers than their dependence base features, whereas Weak emergence requires that higher-level features have a proper subset of the token powers of their dependence base features. Importantly, the notion of “power” at issue here is metaphysically neutral, primarily reﬂecting commitment just to the plausible thesis that what causes an entity may bring about are associated with how the entity is---that is, with its features. (shrink)
J. P. Moreland has recently raised a number of metaphysical objections to the theory of Emergent Individuals that is defended by Timothy O’ Connor, Jonathan Jacobs, and others. Moreland argues that only theism can provide a sufficient explanation for human consciousness, and he considers the theory of Emergent Individuals to offer a competing naturalistic explanation that must be refuted in order for his argument to be successful. Moreland focuses his objections on the account of emergence advocated by the defenders of (...) the theory, as well as what he considers to be the theory’s problematic commitment to panpsychism and the causal powers metaphysic. I respond to Moreland’s objections and argue that they are unsuccessful largely due to his misunderstanding of the theory of Emergent Individuals. (shrink)
I argue that free will and determinism are compatible, even when we take free will to require the ability to do otherwise and even when we interpret that ability modally, as the possibility of doing otherwise, and not just conditionally or dispositionally. My argument draws on a distinction between physical and agential possibility. Although in a deterministic world only one future sequence of events is physically possible for each state of the world, the more coarsely defined state of an agent (...) and his or her environment can be consistent with more than one such sequence, and thus different actions can be “agentially possible”. The agential perspective is supported by our best theories of human behaviour, and so we should take it at face value when we refer to what an agent can and cannot do. On the picture I defend, free will is not a physical phenomenon, but a higher-level one on a par with other higher-level phenomena such as agency and intentionality. (shrink)
In claiming the independence of theology from science, Ernan McMullin nevertheless saw the danger of separating these disciplines on questions of mutual significance, as his accompanying article “Biology and the Theology of the Human” in this edition of Zygon shows. This paper analyzes McMullin's adoption of emergence as a qualified endorsement of a view that avoids the excesses of both dualism and materialism. I argue that McMullin's distinctive contribution is the conceptual clarification of emergence in the light of a precise (...) understanding of matter, in light of Aristotelian metaphysics and Darwinian theory. As applied to human nature, McMullin retains an Augustinian outlook that sees spirit as emergent in the human body and which posits a credible biblical hermeneutic. I indicate briefly how McMullin's perspective could be fortified by a fuller natural theology. (shrink)
Most definitions of radical emergentism characterize it epistemologically. This leads to misunderstandings and makes it hard to assess the doctrine's metaphysical worth. This paper puts forward purely metaphysical characterizations of emergentism and property emergence. It explores the nature of the necessitation relation between base and emergent and argues that emergentism entails a Humean account of causation and related relations. Then it presents arguments against emergentism, both as a wider metaphysic and as an account of consciousness. These maintain that emergentism makes (...) implausible claims about how the world works. The paper also stresses the doctrine's contemporary relevance: most current property dualists endorse views effectively identical to classical emergentism less its historical commitment to novel emergent forces. (shrink)
This work advances a theory in the metaphysics of phenomenal consciousness, which the author labels “e-physicalism”. Firstly, he endorses a realist stance towards consciousness and physicalist metaphysics. Secondly, he criticises Strong AI and functionalist views, and claims that consciousness has an internal character. Thirdly, he discusses HOT theories, the unity of consciousness, and holds that the “explanatory gap” is not ontological but epistemological. Fourthly, he argues that consciousness is not a supervenient but an emergent property, not reducible and endowed with (...) original causal powers, with respect to the micro-constituents of the conscious entity. Fifthly, he addresses the “zombie argument” and the “supervenience argument” within the e-physicalism framework. Finally, he elaborates on the claim that phenomenal properties are physical and discusses the “knowledge argument”. (shrink)
Powers often depend on structures. It is because of the eye’s structure that it confers the power of sight; destroy that structure, and you destroy the power. I sketch an antireductive yet broadly naturalistic account of the relation between powers and structures. Powers, it says, are embodied in structures. When applied to philosophy of mind, this view resembles classic emergentist theories. I nevertheless argue that it differs from them in crucial respects that insulate it from the problems that beset them (...) – including the problem of emergence and the problem of mental causation. (shrink)
Physicalist theories of mind are usually taken to imply causal closure in the physical domain, which implies that physical events are wholly determined by the physical principles governing the context in which they exist. This leads inevitably to some form of reductionism or epiphenomenalism when applied to the neurophysical correlates of conscious experience. If intentionality, characterized in terms of an operative consciousness, is to have any purchase on physical reality then its action must have distinctive and objective structural features that (...) are inconsistent with causal closure yet compatible with a non-trivial broadening of the concept of physical principle. The paper seeks to present such characteristics. Further, denial that conscious intentionality is ontologically fundamental is argued to be inconsistent with a basic assumption concerning the nature of scientific theory itself, the so-called scientific paradigm. In general, progress in these problems has suffered from an inadequate formulation of the concept of emergence which we attempt to rectify, defining a form of it appropriate to individual intentional acts. The structural features that must attend any manifestation of genuine mental causation can be characterized in terms of the time-coordinated excitations of diverse sites in the brain which resemble an extended time-reversal phenomenology. The argument will be exemplified by appeal to speech generation. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: * 1 The Birth of Strict Naturalism and Its Theory of Knowledge * 2 Six Challenges to Strict Naturalism * 3 Constructive Formulations of Broad Naturalism * 4 The Epistemic Presumption in Favor of Broad Naturalism * 5 Final Questions * 6 Conclusion: Grounds for Optimism and Pessimism * Notes.
Tim Crane's ‘Cosmic Hermeneutics vs. Emergence: The Challenge of the Explanatory Gap’ claims that non‐reductive physicalism must either close the explanatory gap, addressing the challenge famously posed by Levine's argument, or become identical to emergentism. Since no way to close the gap is available, the result is that there can be no interesting philosophical position intermediate between physicalism and emergentism. This chapter argues that if we look at the relation between physicalism and emergentism from the vantage point of reduction, Crane's (...) analysis is rather persuasive. However, if we switch from reduction to causality, its conclusions appear more disputable. In particular, if we shift from ‘novelty and explanation’ to ‘novelty and causality’ as key features of emergent properties, we may introduce a distinction between two kinds of emergentism (moderate and radical) based on their attitude towards the causal inheritance principle. If the causal inheritance principle is accepted (some versions of) moderate emergentism may be considered as non‐trivial forms of non‐reductive physicalism. (shrink)
This chapter formulates and motivates the current favored articulation of the metaphysical doctrine of materialism. It describes an alternative metaphysical position called minimal emergentism, which has two versions; and then contrasts it with stronger kinds of emergentism. Minimal emergentism posits certain inter-level necessitation relations — either nomically necessary connections, or metaphysically necessary connections — that are metaphysically brute. The chapter sets forth what it takes to be some very powerful challenges to materialism — challenges involving features of human consciousness. Finally, (...) the chapter argues that in light of these challenges, minimal emergentism is a viable and theoretically appealing non-materialist metaphysic of mind. (shrink)
Some claim that Non-reductive Physicalism is an unstable position, on grounds that NRP either collapses into reductive physicalism, or expands into emergentism of a robust or ‘strong’ variety. 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 their composing physical 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 their composing physical entities—provide a basis for making sense of how certain special science entities can be both physically acceptable and ontologically irreducible to physical entities. (shrink)