Strengthening Weak Emergence

Erkenntnis 87 (5):2457-2474 (2020)
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Abstract

Bedau's influential (1997) account analyzes weak emergence in terms of the non-derivability of a system’s macrostates from its microstates except by simulation. I offer an improved version of Bedau’s account of weak emergence in light of insights from information theory. Non-derivability alone does not guarantee that a system’s macrostates are weakly emergent. Rather, it is non-derivability plus the algorithmic compressibility of the system’s macrostates that makes them weakly emergent. I argue that the resulting information-theoretic picture provides a metaphysical account of weak emergence rather than a merely epistemic one.

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Nora Berenstain
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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References found in this work

Every thing must go: metaphysics naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Don Ross, David Spurrett & John G. Collier.
Real patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - In James Ladyman & Don Ross (eds.), Every thing must go: metaphysics naturalized. New York: Oxford University Press.
Making sense of emergence.Jaegwon Kim - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):3-36.
Real Patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.

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