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Emergence: Core ideas and issues

Synthese 151 (3):547-559 (2006)

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  1. Beyond Ideology: Epistemological Foundations of Vladimir Fock's approach to Quantum Theory.Jean‐Philippe Martinez - forthcoming - Berichte Zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte.
    Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, EarlyView.
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  • Physicalism, Emergence and Downward Causation.Richard J. Campbell & Mark H. Bickhard - 2011 - Axiomathes 21 (1):33-56.
    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 (...)
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  • Construction Area (No Hard Hat Required).Karen Bennett - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (1):79-104.
    A variety of relations widely invoked by philosophers—composition, constitution, realization, micro-basing, emergence, and many others—are species of what I call ‘building relations’. I argue that they are conceptually intertwined, articulate what it takes for a relation to count as a building relation, and argue that—contra appearances—it is an open possibility that these relations are all determinates of a common determinable, or even that there is really only one building relation.
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  • Emergent Causation.Simon Prosser - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (1):21-39.
    Downward causation is commonly held to create problems for ontologically emergent properties. In this paper I describe two novel examples of ontologically emergent properties and show how they avoid two main problems of downward causation, the causal exclusion problem and the causal closure problem. One example involves an object whose colour does not logically supervene on the colours of its atomic parts. The other example is inspired by quantum entanglement cases but avoids controversies regarding quantum mechanics. These examples show that (...)
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  • The Blurred Line Between Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design.Mikael Leidenhag - 2019 - Zygon 54 (4):909-931.
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  • Decomposing Complexity: The Discovering of Pathway Dynamics.Adam White - unknown
    Biochemists often adopt what may be called the “Strategy of Decomposition” for the causal discovery of biochemical pathway dynamic behaviours. This involves decomposing a pathway into a set of isolated parts, which are then analysed separately. It is assumed that knowledge gained of the isolated parts can then be used to explain the dynamic behaviours of the whole pathway. My thesis addresses the extent to which use of the Strategy of Decomposition is warranted. I evaluate two challenges contained in Bechtel (...)
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  • Ontological Emergence: How is That Possible? Towards a New Relational Ontology.Gil Santos - 2015 - Foundations of Science 20 (4):429-446.
    In this article I address the issue of the ontological conditions of possibility for a naturalistic notion of emergence, trying to determine its fundamental differences from the atomist, vitalist, preformationist and potentialist alternatives. I will argue that a naturalistic notion of ontological emergence can only succeed if we explicitly refuse the atomistic fundamental ontological postulate that asserts that every entity is endowed with a set of absolutely intrinsic properties, being qualitatively immutable through its extrinsic relations. Furthermore, it will be shown (...)
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  • The Unsuitability of Emergence Theory for Pentecostal Theology: A Response to Bradnick and McCall.Mikael Leidenhag & Joanna Leidenhag - 2018 - Zygon 53 (1):258-273.
    In this response to David Bradnick's and Bradford McCall's defense of Amos Yong's usage of emergence theory, we defend our previous argument regarding the tension between Yong's Pentecostal commitments and the philosophical entailments of emergence theory. We clarify and extend our previous concerns in three ways. First, we explore the difficulties of construing divine action naturalistically. Second, we clarify the problems of employing supervenience in theology. Third, we show why Bradnick's and McCall's advice to Yong to adopt weak emergence is (...)
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  • Quaderns de Filosofia VI, 1.Quad Fia - 2019 - Quaderns de Filosofia 6 (1).
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  • A Metaphysical Approach to Holobiont Individuality: Holobionts as Emergent Individuals.Javier Suárez & Vanessa Triviño - 2019 - Quaderns de Filosofia 6 (1):59-76.
    Holobionts are symbiotic assemblages composed by a host plus its microbiome. The status of holobionts as individuals has recently been a subject of continuous controversy, which has given rise to two main positions: on the one hand, holobiont advocates argue that holobionts are biological individuals; on the other, holobiont detractors argue that they are just mere chimeras or ecological communities, but not individuals. Both parties in the dispute develop their arguments from the framework of the philosophy of biology, in terms (...)
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  • Humeanism, Best System Laws, and Emergence.Olivier Sartenaer - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (4):719-738.
    In the current article and contrary to a widespread assumption, I argue that Humeanism and ontological emergence can peacefully coexist. Such a coexistence can be established by reviving elements of John Stuart Mill’s philosophy of science, in which an idiosyncratic account of diachronic emergence is associated with extensions of the Humean mosaic and the correlative coming into being of new best system laws, which have the peculiarity of being temporally indexed. Incidentally, this reconciliation of Humeanism and emergence allows for conceiving (...)
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  • Mental Causation, Compatibilism and Counterfactuals.Dwayne Moore - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):20-42.
    According to proponents of the causal exclusion problem, there cannot be a sufficient physical cause and a distinct mental cause of the same piece of behaviour. Increasingly, the causal exclusion problem is circumvented via this compatibilist reasoning: a sufficient physical cause of the behavioural effect necessitates the mental cause of the behavioural effect, so the effect has a sufficient physical cause and a mental cause as well. In this paper, I argue that this compatibilist reply fails to resolve the causal (...)
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  • Karen Bennett, Making Things Up, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, Ix + 260 Pp., £45 , ISBN: 9780199682683. [REVIEW]Jan Plate - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (3):466-473.
  • On the Solvability of the Mind–Body Problem.Jan Scheffel - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-24.
    The mind–body problem is analyzed in a physicalist perspective. By combining the concepts of emergence and algorithmic information theory in a thought experiment, employing a basic nonlinear process, it is shown that epistemologically emergent properties may develop in a physical system. Turning to the significantly more complex neural network of the brain it is subsequently argued that consciousness is epistemologically emergent. Thus reductionist understanding of consciousness appears not possible; the mind–body problem does not have a reductionist solution. The ontologically emergent (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Downward Causation: Rediscovering the Formal Cause.Mariusz Tabaczek - 2013 - Zygon 48 (2):380-404.
    The methodological nonreductionism of contemporary biology opens an interesting discussion on the level of ontology and the philosophy of nature. The theory of emergence (EM), and downward causation (DC) in particular, bring a new set of arguments challenging not only methodological, but also ontological and causal reductionism. This argumentation provides a crucial philosophical foundation for the science/theology dialogue. However, a closer examination shows that proponents of EM do not present a unified and consistent definition of DC. Moreover, they find it (...)
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  • Where to Look for Emergent Properties.Agustín Vicente - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (2):156.
    Recent years have seen renewed interest in the emergence issue. The contemporary debate, in contrast with that of past times, has to do not so much with the mind–body problem as with the relationship between the physical and other domains; mostly with the biological domain. One of the main sources of this renewed interest is the study of complex and, in general, far-from-equilibrium self-preserving systems, which seem to fulfil one of the necessary conditions for an entity to be emergent; namely, (...)
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  • Mind-Body problemets olösbarhet frigör viljan.Jan Scheffel - manuscript
    Mind-body problemet analyseras i ett reduktionistiskt perspektiv. Genom att kombinera emergensbegreppet med algoritmisk informationsteori visas i ett tankeexperiment att ett starkt epistemiskt emergent system kan konstrueras utifrån en relativt enkel, ickelinjär process. En jämförelse med hjärnans avsevärt mer komplexa neurala nätverk visar att även medvetandet kan karakteriseras som starkt epistemiskt emergent. Därmed är reduktionistisk förståelse av medvetandet inte möjlig; mind-body problemet har alltså inte en reduktionistisk lösning. Medvetandets ontologiskt emergenta karaktär kan därefter konstateras utifrån en kombinatorisk analys; det är därmed (...)
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  • The Unsolvability of the Mind-Body Problem Liberates the Will.Scheffel Jan - manuscript
    The mind-body problem is analyzed in a physicalist perspective. By combining the concepts of emergence and algorithmic information theory in a thought experiment employing a basic nonlinear process, it is argued that epistemically strongly emergent properties may develop in a physical system. A comparison with the significantly more complex neural network of the brain shows that also consciousness is epistemically emergent in a strong sense. Thus reductionist understanding of consciousness appears not possible; the mind-body problem does not have a reductionist (...)
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  • The Compatibility of Downward Causation and Emergence.Simone Gozzano - 2017 - In Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti (eds.), Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives on Downward Causation. New York, uSA: Routledge. pp. 296-312.
    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 (...)
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  • The Argument From Reason, and Mental Causal Drainage: A Reply to van Inwagen.Brandon Rickabaugh & Todd Buras - 2017 - Philosophia Christi 19 (2):381-399.
    According to Peter van Inwagen, C. S. Lewis failed in his attempt to undermine naturalism with his Argument from Reason. According to van Inwagen, Lewis provides no justification for his central premise, that naturalism is inconsistent with holding beliefs for reasons. What is worse, van Inwagen argues that the main premise in Lewis's argument from reason is false. We argue that it is not false. The defender of Lewis's argument can make use of the problem of mental causal drainage, a (...)
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  • Philosophy of Mind: Critical Concepts in Philosophy.Sean Crawford (ed.) - 2010 - Routledge.
    v. 1. Foundations -- v. 2. The mind-body problem -- v. 3. Intentionality -- v. 4. Consciousness.
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  • Brain as a Complex System and the Emergence of Mind.Sahana Rajan - 2017 - Dissertation,
    The relationship between brain and mind has been extensively explored through the developments within neuroscience over the last decade. However, the ontological status of mind has remained fairly problematic due to the inability to explain all features of the mind through the brain. This inability has been considered largely due to partial knowledge of the brain. It is claimed that once we gain complete knowledge of the brain, all features of the mind would be explained adequately. However, a challenge to (...)
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  • Diachronic Metaphysical Building Relations: Towards the Metaphysics of Extended Cognition.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2014 - Dissertation, Macquarie University
    In the thesis I offer an analysis of the metaphysical underpinnings of the extended cognition thesis via an examination of standard views of metaphysical building (or, dependence) relations. -/- In summary form, the extended cognition thesis is a view put forth in naturalistic philosophy of mind stating that the physical basis of cognitive processes and cognitive processing may, in the right circumstances, be distributed across neural, bodily, and environmental vehicles. As such, the extended cognition thesis breaks substantially with the still (...)
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  • Panpsychism: Ubiquitous Sentience.Peter Sjöstedt-H. - 2018 - High Existence 1.
    This public article presents three arguments for the plausibility of panpsychism: the view that sentience is a fundamental and ubiquitous element of actuality. Thereafter is presented a brief exploration of why panpsychism has been spurned. The article was commissioned by High Existence. -/- – Introduction – 1. The Genetic Argument – 2. The Abstraction Argument – 3. The Inferential Argument – Why Panpsychism is Spurned – End Remarks.
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  • A Novel Approach to Emergence in Chemistry.Alexandru Manafu - 2015 - In Eric Scerri & L. McIntyre (eds.), Philosophy of Chemistry. Growth of a New Discipline. Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science. Volume 306. pp. 39-55.
  • On the Solvability of the Mind-Body Problem.Jan Scheffel - manuscript
    The mind-body problem is analyzed in a physicalist perspective. By combining the concepts of emergence and algorithmic information theory in a thought experiment employing a basic nonlinear process, it is shown that epistemically strongly emergent properties may develop in a physical system. Turning to the significantly more complex neural network of the brain it is subsequently argued that consciousness is epistemically emergent. Thus reductionist understanding of consciousness appears not possible; the mind-body problem does not have a reductionist solution. The ontologically (...)
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  • Free Will of an Ontologically Open Mind.Jan Scheffel - manuscript
    Combining elements from algorithmic information theory and quantum mechanics, it has earlier been argued that consciousness is epistemically and ontologically emergent. Accordingly, consciousness is irreducible to neural low-level states, in spite of assuming causality and supervenience on these states. The mind-body problem is thus found to be unsolvable. In this paper the implications on free will is studied. In the perspective of a modified definition of free will, enabling scientific decidability, the ontological character of interactions of the cortical neural network (...)
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  • Qualitative Attribution, Phenomenal Experience and Being.Mark Pharoah - 2018 - Biosemiotics 11 (3):427-446.
    I argue that the physiological, phenomenal and conceptual constitute a trichotomous hierarchy of emergent categories. I claim that each category employs a distinctive type of interactive mechanism that facilitates a meaningful kind of environmental discourse. I advocate, therefore, that each have a causal relation with the environment but that their specific class of mechanism qualifies distinctively the meaningfulness of that interaction and subsequent responses. Consequently, I argue that the causal chain of physical interaction feeds distinctive value-laden constructions that are ontologically (...)
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  • Irreducibility and Emergence in Complex Systems and the Quest for Alternative Insights.Radmarz Hosseinie & Mojtaba Mahzoon - 2011 - Complexity 17 (2):10-18.
  • Autopoiesis, Autonomy and Organizational Biology: Critical Remarks on “Life After Ashby”.Leonardo Bich & Argyris Arnellos - 2012 - Cybernetics and Human Knowing 19 (4):75-103.
    In this paper we criticize the “Ashbyan interpretation” (Froese & Stewart, 2010) of autopoietic theory by showing that Ashby’s framework and the autopoietic one are based on distinct, often incompatible, assumptions and that they aim at addressing different issues. We also suggest that in order to better understand autopoiesis and its implications, a different and wider set of theoretical contributions, developed previously or at the time autopoiesis was formulated, needs to be taken into consideration: among the others, the works of (...)
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  • Emergencia y reducción.José Tomás Alvarado - 2019 - Filosofia Unisinos 20 (1).
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  • Reducionismo e o experimento mental da duplicação humana.Osvaldo Pessoa Júnior - 2010 - Revista de Filosofia Aurora 22 (30):69.
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  • A New Look at Emergence. Or When After is Different.Alexandre Guay & Olivier Sartenaer - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (2):297-322.
    In this paper, we put forward a new account of emergence called “transformational emergence”. Such an account captures a variety of emergence that can be considered as being diachronic and weakly ontological. The fact that transformational emergence actually constitutes a genuine form of emergence is motivated. Besides, the account is free of traditional problems surrounding more usual, synchronic versions of emergence, and it can find a strong empirical support in a specific physical phenomenon, the fractional quantum Hall effect, which has (...)
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  • Synchronic Vs. Diachronic Emergence: A Reappraisal.Olivier Sartenaer - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):31-54.
    In this paper, I put forward a benchmark account of emergence in terms of non-explainability and explicate the relationship that exists between its synchronic and diachronic declinations. I develop an argument whose conclusion is that emergence is essentially a “two-faceted” notion, i.e. it always encapsulates both synchronic and diachronic dimensions. I then compare this account with alternative recent accounts of emergence that define the concept through the notion of unpredictability or topological non-equivalence.
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  • Realist Ethical Naturalism for Ethical Non-Naturalists.Ryan Stringer - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):339-362.
    It is common in metaethics today to draw a distinction between “naturalist” and “non-naturalist” versions of moral realism, where the former view maintains that moral properties are natural properties, while the latter view maintains that they are non-natural properties instead. The nature of the disagreement here can be understood in different ways, but the most common way is to understand it as a metaphysical disagreement. In particular, the disagreement here is about the reducibility of moral properties, where the “naturalists” maintain (...)
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  • Reduction, Emergence, and Renormalization.Jeremy Butterfield - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (1):5-49.
    In previous work, I described several examples combining reduction and emergence: where reduction is understood a la Ernest Nagel, and emergence is understood as behaviour that is novel. Here, my aim is again to reconcile reduction and emergence, for a case which is apparently more problematic than those I treated before: renormalization. My main point is that renormalizability being a generic feature at accessible energies gives us a conceptually unified family of Nagelian reductions. That is worth saying since philosophers tend (...)
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  • On the Ontological Status of Molecular Structure: Is It Possible to Reconcile Molecular Chemistry with Quantum Mechanics?Sebastian Fortin, Martín Labarca & Olimpia Lombardi - unknown
    According to classical molecular chemistry, molecules have a structure, that is, they are sets of atoms with a definite arrangements in space and held together by chemical bonds. The concept of molecular structure is central to modern chemical thought given its impressive predictive power. It is also a very useful concept in chemistry education, due to its role in the rationalization and visualization of microscopic phenomena. However, such a concept seems to find no place in the ontology described by quantum (...)
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  • Intervals of Quasi-Decompositionality and Emergent Properties.Emilio Cáceres Vázquez & Cristian Saborido - 2017 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 32 (1):89-108.
    The notion of emergence has accompanied philosophy of science since the late XIX century, claiming that in some systems there are properties in certain levels that cannot be deduced from properties of their components as seen in more fundamental levels. Throughout the XX century, emergence has been characterized by four pillars: unpredictability, novelty, restriction and downward causation. These four pillars have been related to the assumption of a hierarchical order of reality in different levels of organization. In this paper, we (...)
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  • On the Neurobiological Redefinition of Psychiatric Symptoms: Elimination, Reduction, or What?Maël Lemoine - 2019 - Synthese 196 (6):2117-2133.
    Because biologization of psychiatric constructs does not involve derivation of laws, or reduce the number of entities involved, the traditional term of ‘reduction’ should be replaced. This paper describes biologization in terms of redefinition, which involves changing the definition of terms sharing the same extension. Redefinition obtains through triangulation and calibration, that is, respectively, detection of an object from two different spots, and tweaking parameters of detection in order to optimize the picture. The unity of the different views of the (...)
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  • Kim’s Dilemma and Ecological Reductionism for the Mind.Anoop Gupta - 2009 - Lyceum 11 (1).
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  • Emergence, Reduction and Supervenience: A Varied Landscape. [REVIEW]Jeremy Butterfield - 2011 - Foundations of Physics 41 (6):920-959.
    This is one of two papers about emergence, reduction and supervenience. It expounds these notions and analyses the general relations between them. The companion paper analyses the situation in physics, especially limiting relations between physical theories. I shall take emergence as behaviour that is novel and robust relative to some comparison class. I shall take reduction as deduction using appropriate auxiliary definitions. And I shall take supervenience as a weakening of reduction, viz. to allow infinitely long definitions. The overall claim (...)
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  • Emergence and Singular Limits.Andrew Wayne - 2012 - Synthese 184 (3):341-356.
    Recent work by Robert Batterman and Alexander Rueger has brought attention to cases in physics in which governing laws at the base level “break down” and singular limit relations obtain between base- and upper-level theories. As a result, they claim, these are cases with emergent upper-level properties. This paper contends that this inference—from singular limits to explanatory failure, novelty or irreducibility, and then to emergence—is mistaken. The van der Pol nonlinear oscillator is used to show that there can be a (...)
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  • A Synthesis and a Practical Approach to Complex Systems.Nicolas Brodu - 2009 - Complexity 15 (1):36-60.
  • Philosophical Issues Concerning Phase Transitions and Anyons: Emergence, Reduction, and Explanatory Fictions.Elay Shech - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (3):585-615.
    Various claims regarding intertheoretic reduction, weak and strong notions of emergence, and explanatory fictions have been made in the context of first-order thermodynamic phase transitions. By appealing to John Norton’s recent distinction between approximation and idealization, I argue that the case study of anyons and fractional statistics, which has received little attention in the philosophy of science literature, is more hospitable to such claims. In doing so, I also identify three novel roles that explanatory fictions fulfill in science. Furthermore, I (...)
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  • Upward and Downward Causation From a Relational-Horizontal Ontological Perspective.Gil Santos - 2015 - Axiomathes 25 (1):23-40.
    Downward causation exercised by emergent properties of wholes upon their lower-level constituents’ properties has been accused of conceptual and metaphysical incoherence. Only upward causation is usually peacefully accepted. The aim of this paper is to criticize and refuse the traditional hierarchical-vertical way of conceiving both types of causation, although preserving their deepest ontological significance, as well as the widespread acceptance of the traditional atomistic-combinatorial view of the entities and the relations that constitute the so-called ‘emergence base’. Assuming those two perspectives (...)
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  • The Layered Structure of the World in N. Hartmann's Ontology and a Processual View.Jakub Dziadkowiec - 2011 - In Roberto Poli, Carlo Scognamiglio & Frederic Tremblay (eds.), The Philosophy of Nicolai Hartmann. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 95.
  • Distinguishing Between Inter-Domain and Intra-Domain Emergence.María Ferreira Ruiz & Olimpia Lombardi - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (1):133-151.
    Currently, there are almost as many conceptions of emergence as authors who address the issue. Most literature on the matter focuses either on discussing, evaluating and comparing particular contributions or accounts of emergence, or on assessing a particular case study. Our aim in this paper is rather different. We here set out to introduce a distinction that has not been sufficiently taken into account in previous discussions on this topic: the distinction between inter-domain emergence—a relation between items belonging to different (...)
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  • Metaphysical Emergence: Weak and Strong.Jessica Wilson - 2015 - In Tomasz Bigaj & Christian Wuthrich (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities. pp. 251-306.
    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 (...)
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  • Functionalism, Superduperfunctionalism, and Physicalism: Lessons From Supervenience.Ronald Endicott - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7):2205-2235.
    Philosophers almost universally believe that concepts of supervenience fail to satisfy the standards for physicalism because they offer mere property correlations that are left unexplained. They are thus compatible with non-physicalist accounts of those relations. Moreover, many philosophers not only prefer some kind of functional-role theory as a physically acceptable account of mind-body and other inter-level relations, but they use it as a form of “superdupervenience” to explain supervenience in a physically acceptable way. But I reject a central part of (...)
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  • A Space of Transition and Transaction.Victor Counted & Fraser Watts - 2019 - Archive for the Psychology of Religion 41 (1):43-52.
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