Axiomathes 21 (1):33-56 (2011)
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’
|Keywords||Physicalism Supervenience Emergence Reduction Processes Downward causation|
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References found in this work BETA
Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind-Body Problem and Mental Causation.Jaegwon Kim - 1998 - MIT Press.
Aggregativity: Reductive Heuristics for Finding Emergence.William C. Wimsatt - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):372-84.
Epiphenomenal and Supervenient Causation.Jaegwon Kim - 1984 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1):257-70.
Citations of this work BETA
Emergence, Closure and Inter-Level Causation in Biological Systems.Matteo Mossio, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):153-178.
Extended Cognition & the Causal‐Constitutive Fallacy: In Search for a Diachronic and Dynamical Conception of Constitution.Michael D. Kirchhoff - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2):320-360.
Quantum Causal Explanation: Or, Why Birds Fly South.Sally Shrapnel - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (3):409-423.
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