Foundations of Physics 50 (10):1098-1139 (2020)

George Ellis
Cambridge University (PhD)
There has been much controversy over weak and strong emergence in physics and biology. As pointed out by Phil Anderson in many papers, the existence of broken symmetries is the key to emergence of properties in much of solid state physics. By carefully distinguishing between different types of symmetry breaking and tracing the relation between broken symmetries at micro and macro scales, I demonstrate that the emergence of the properties of semiconductors is a case of strong emergence. This is due to the existence of quasiparticles such as phonons. Furthermore time dependent potentials enable downward causation as in the case of digital computers. Additionally I show that the processes of evolutionary emergence of living systems is also a case of strong emergence, as is the emergence of properties of life out of the underlying physics. A useful result emerges: standard physics theories and the emergent theories arising out of them are all effective theories that are equally valid.
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DOI 10.1007/s10701-020-00367-z
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References found in this work BETA

Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System.Alicia Juarrero - 1999 - Emergence: Complexity and Organization 2 (2):24-57.
Emergent Physics and Micro-Ontology.Margaret Morrison - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (1):141-166.
Emergence Without Limits: The Case of Phonons.Alexander Franklin & Eleanor Knox - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:68-78.

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