Reducing the Emergence of the Gaps: Computation for Weak Emergence

Dissertation, (2014)

Authors
Ty Branch
University of Waterloo (PhD)
Abstract
This thesis contributes to the growing literature surrounding the importance of weak emergence by showing it can account for more phenomena than originally conceived via the use of computational reduction. Weak emergence refers to unpredictable higher-level phenomena that are reducible to lower-level phenomena. The ability of weak emergence to reduce higher-level phenomena to their lower-level constituents is useful for establishing a mechanistic explanation of emergent features. The tension between holistic higher-level phenomena and lower-level parts is a classic argument in philosophy and investigating emergent phenomena is one means of furthering the discussion. In particular I will look at theories of emergence and computational analysis related to systems biology. Systems biology uses modern computational analysis to model naturally occurring interactions of higher-level elements and, in combination with synthetic biology, can trace complex macro-level interactions back to micro-level occurrences without explanatory loss. What makes this interesting is that systems biology is able to explain and reduce phenomena that were once considered strongly emergent, therefore shrinking the number of phenomena we consider strongly emergent. Furthermore, systems biology offers a compelling milieu for philosophers to contribute to scientific discourse and vice versa. Hence, it is a worthwhile endeavor for philosophers to test their theories of emergence against actual practice as a way to inform their concepts. I will use examples traditionally considered strongly emergent to show that these cases can in fact be reduced and categorized as weakly emergent because they are unpredictable but not irreducible. The reclassification of these phenomena challenges strong emergence, and reveals it to be an ‘Emergence of the Gaps’ whereby the number of phenomena strong emergence can describe decreases in an inversely proportional relationship to increased computational capacity.
Keywords weak emergence  strong emergence  computational reduction  mechanistic explanation  systems biology  explanatory loss  applied philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 48,997
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Physicalism, the Identity Theory, and the Concept of Emergence.John Kekes - 1966 - Philosophy of Science 33 (December):360-75.
Is Weak Emergence Just in the Mind?Mark A. Bedau - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (4):443-459.
Synchronic and Diachronic Emergence.Paul Humphreys - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (4):431-442.
Emergence in Physics.Patrick McGivern & Alexander Rueger - 2010 - In Antonella Corradini & Timothy O'Connor (eds.), Emergence in Science and Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 213-232.
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.
The Emergent Order.Kevin Sharpe & Jonathan Walgate - 2003 - Zygon 38 (2):411-433.
Quantifying Weak Emergence.Paul Hovda - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (4):461-473.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-05-01

Total views
22 ( #437,055 of 2,310,656 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #158,561 of 2,310,656 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature