The varieties of emergence: Their purposes, obligations and importance

Grazer Philosophische Studien 65 (1):95-121 (2002)
I outline reasons for the recent popularity, and lingering suspicion, about 'emergence' by examining three distinct concepts of property emergence, their purposes and associated obligations. In Part 1, I argue 'Strong' emergence is the grail for many emergentists (and physicalists), since it frames what is needed to block the 'Argument from Realization' (AR) which moves from the truth of physicalism to the inefficacy of special science properties. I then distinguish 'Weak' and 'Ontological' emergence, in Part 2, arguing each is a way one may fail to establish the possibility of Strong emergence. But I also show Weak emergence can help the full-blown reductionist and Ontological emergence helps those opposed to physicalism. Lastly, in Part 3, I argue that the Completeness of Physics (CoP) is incompatible with Strong emergence and that rejecting CoP provides hope for the possibility of Strong emergence in a physical world. The result is a notion of Strong emergence offering much to non-reductive physicalism. My final conclusion is that concepts of emergence, when properly understood, have important contributions to make to philosophical debate.
Keywords Causation  Emergence  Metaphysics  Mind  Physicalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,463
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
Van De Laar Tjeerd (2006). Dynamical Systems Theory as an Approach to Mental Causation. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):307-332.
Kari L. Theurer (2014). Complexity-Based Theories of Emergence: Criticisms and Constraints. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (3):277-301.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

200 ( #18,667 of 1,925,534 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #82,397 of 1,925,534 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.