Physicalism, Emergence and Downward Causation

Axiomathes 21 (1):33-56 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

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 false assumptions about causal sufficiency. We argue, on the contrary, for a rejection of the deeply entrenched assumption, shared by physicalists and Cartesians alike, that what basically exists are things (entities, substances). Our best physics tells us that there are no basic particulars, only fields in process. We need an ontology which gives priority to organization, which is inherently relational. Reflection upon the fact that all biological creatures are far-from-equilibrium systems, whose very persistence depend upon their interactions with their environment, reveals incoherence in the notion of an ‘emergence base’

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,385

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Emergence, Downward Causation, and Interlevel Integrative Explanations.Gil Santos - 2023 - In João L. Cordovil, Gil Santos & Davide Vecchi (eds.), New Mechanism Explanation, Emergence and Reduction. Springer. pp. 235-265.
Emergence, supervenience, and realization.Rex Welshon - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 108 (1-2):39-51.
Emergence and Reflexive Downward.John Symons - 2002 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 6 (1):183–201.
The strong emergence of molecular structure.Vanessa A. Seifert - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-25.
The Compatibility of Downward Causation and Emergence.Simone Gozzano - 2017 - In Michele Paolini Paoletti & Francesco Orilia (eds.), Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives on Downward Causation. New York: Routledge. pp. 296-312.
Emergence and Reflexive Downward.John Symons - 2002 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 6 (1):183–201.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
427 (#49,715)

6 months
31 (#125,354)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Mark Bickhard
Lehigh University

Citations of this work

Process Philosophy.Johanna Seibt - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Dynamics of Group Cognition.S. Orestis Palermos - 2016 - Minds and Machines 26 (4):409-440.
Genidentity and Biological Processes.Thomas Pradeu - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupré (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

View all 26 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Physicalism, or Something near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223):306-310.
Space, Time and Deity.Samuel Alexander - 1920 - London,: Macmillan.
Emergent Evolution.C. Lloyd Morgan - 1923 - London,: Williams & Norgate.

View all 28 references / Add more references