Synchronic and diachronic emergence

Minds and Machines 18 (4):431-442 (2008)
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Abstract

I discuss here a number of different kinds of diachronic emergence, noting that they differ in important ways from synchronic conceptions. I argue that Bedau’s weak emergence has an essentially historical aspect, in that there can be two indistinguishable states, one of which is weakly emergent, the other of which is not. As a consequence, weak emergence is about tokens, not types, of states. I conclude by examining the question of whether the concept of weak emergence is too weak and note that there is at present no unifying account of diachronic and synchronic concepts of emergence.

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Paul Humphreys
University of Virginia

References found in this work

Real patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
Real Patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
The ontology of complex systems: levels of organization, perspectives, and causal thickets.William C. Wimsatt - 1994 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 20:207-274.
Weak emergence: Causation and emergence.Ma Bedau - 1997 - Philosophical Perspectives 11:375-399.

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