Authors
George Ellis
Cambridge University (PhD)
Abstract
Digital computers carry out algorithms coded in high level programs. These abstract entities determine what happens at the physical level: they control whether electrons flow through specific transistors at specific times or not, entailing downward causation in both the logical and implementation hierarchies. This paper explores how this is possible in the light of the alleged causal completeness of physics at the bottom level, and highlights the mechanism that enables strong emergence (the manifest causal effectiveness of application programs) to occur. Although synchronic emergence of higher levels from lower levels is manifestly true, diachronic emergence is generically not the case; indeed we give specific examples where it cannot occur because of the causal effectiveness of higher level variables.
Keywords Downward causation  Digital computers  Logical control  Transistor Physics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Compatibility of Downward Causation and Emergence.Simone Gozzano - 2017 - In Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti (eds.), Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives on Downward Causation. New York, uSA: Routledge. pp. 296-312.
Levels, Emergence, and Three Versions of Downward Causation.Claus Emmeche, Simo Koppe & Frederick Stjernfelt - 2000 - In P.B. Andersen, Claus Emmeche, N.O. Finnemann & P.V. Christiansen (eds.), Downward Causation. Aarhus, Denmark: University of Aarhus Press. pp. 322-348.
How Causal is Downward Causation?Menno Hulswit - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):261-287.
How Causal is Downward Causation?Menno Hulswit - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (2):261 - 287.
Three Grades of Downward Causation.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2017 - In Michele Paolini Paoletti & Francesco Orilia (eds.), Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives on Downward Causation. New York: Routledge. pp. 25-41.
Mechanisms and Downward Causation.Max Kistler - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):595-609.
Experiment, Downward Causation, and Interventionist Levels of Explanation.Veli-Pekka Parkkinen - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (3):245-261.
Emergentism, Irreducibility, and Downward Causation.Achim Stephan - 2002 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 65 (1):77-93.
El yo como causa.Juan José Sanguineti - 2010 - Sapientia 66:23-39.
Physics and the Real World.George F. R. Ellis - 2006 - Foundations of Physics 36 (2):227-262.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-08-16

Total views
280 ( #30,832 of 2,425,818 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
97 ( #6,810 of 2,425,818 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes