On the reality of emergents

Principia 6 (1):51-87 (2002)

The controversy over the notion of emergence has recently re-emerged But a rigorous debate concerning how it might be explained or defined is often lacking Emergence is discussed here under two strict conditions (l) emergents can be predictable from the knowledge about a system's parts, (ll) emergents can be regarded as dependent on, and deternuned by, the system's micro-structure O'Connor's definmon of an emergent property is taken as a starting-point for a new definmon, incorporating Emmeche and colleagues' analysis of dounward causation and Baas' treatment of emergence It is not necessary to assume that this defintaon might provide the solution to the problem of emergence Rather, theoretical pluralism regarding different pragmatically-workable notions of emergence is welcome The reality of emergents is discussed here from the standpoint of Dennet's mild realism
Keywords Causation  Emergence  Realism  Science  Dennett, D
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