Emergence, Emergentism and Pragmatism

Theology and Science 13 (3) (2015)
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Abstract

In this paper, I argue for the usefulness of pragmatism as a framework within which to develop the theological application of emergentist theory. I consider some philosophical issues relevant to the recent revival of interest, across various disciplines, in the concept of emergence and clarify some of the conceptual issues at stake in the attempts to formulate the philosophical position of emergentism and to apply it theologically. After highlighting some major problems arising from the main existing ways of formulating emergentism, I build on the work of Sami Pihlström, outlining a less problematic, alternative proposal. I attempt to show that the philosophical problems can be circumvented by an appeal to the pragmatist tradition, which is a useful philosophical framework within which to develop an emergentist theory fit for theological application.

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Guy Bennett-Hunter
University of Edinburgh

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References found in this work

What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Strong and weak emergence.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In Philip Clayton & Paul Davies (eds.), The re-emergence of emergence: the emergentist hypothesis from science to religion. New York: Oxford University Press.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press UK.
Conceptual foundations of emergence theory.Philip Clayton - 2006 - In Philip Clayton & Paul Davies (eds.), The re-emergence of emergence: the emergentist hypothesis from science to religion. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 1--31.

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