Erkenntnis 82 (4):795-818 (2017)

The concept of levels of organization, despite its widespread scientific currency, has recently been criticized by a number of philosophers of science. This paper diagnoses the main source of problems facing theories of levels. On this basis, the problems with the usual criteria for distinguishing levels are evaluated: compositional relations, organizational types, and spatial scales. Drawing on some work on hierarchies in ecology, I argue in favor of an alternative conception of levels defined by the criterion of rates or time scales of processes.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10670-016-9844-4
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,759
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

Levels of Organization in Biology.Markus Eronen & Daniel Stephen Brooks - unknown - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory without Homeostatic Mechanisms: Two Recent Attempts and their Costs.Yukinori Onishi & Davide Serpico - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-22.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Limitations of Hierarchical Organization.Angela Potochnik & Brian McGill - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (1):120-140.
Levels of Organization: A Deflationary Account.Markus Eronen - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):39-58.
Levels of Reality and Levels of Representation.Claudio Gnoli & Roberto Poli - 2004 - Knowledge Organization 31 (3):151-160.
The Relationship Between Psychological Capacities and Neurobiological Activities.Gregory Johnson - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):453-480.
Explanations at Multiple Levels.Alexander Rueger - 2001 - Minds and Machines 11 (4):503-520.


Added to PP index

Total views
60 ( #171,680 of 2,432,579 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #138,273 of 2,432,579 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes