The Reemergence of 'Emergence'

Philosophy of Science 68 (3):62-75 (2001)
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Abstract

A variety of recent philosophical discussions, particularly on topics relating to complexity, have begun to reemploy the concept of 'emergence'. Although multiple concepts of 'emergence' are available, little effort has been made to systematically distinguish them. In this paper, I provide a taxonomy of higher-order properties that distinguishes three classes of emergent properties: ontologically basic properties of complex entities, such as the mythical vital properties, fully configurational properties, such as mental properties as they are conceived of by functionalists and computationalists, and highly configurational/holistic properties, such as the higher-level patterns characteristic of complex dynamical systems. Or more simply: emergence as ontological liberality, emergence as multiple realizability, and emergence as interactive complexity.

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Citations of this work

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