Synthese 185 (2):171-186 (2012)

Philosophical accounts of emergence have been explicated in terms of logical relationships between statements (derivation) or static properties (function and realization). Jaegwon Kim is a modern proponent. A property is emergent if it is not explainable by (or reducible to) the properties of lower level components. This approach, I will argue, is unable to make sense of the kinds of emergence that are widespread in scientific explanations of complex systems. The standard philosophical notion of emergence posits the wrong dichotomies, confuses compositional physicalism with explanatory physicalism, and is unable to represent the type of dynamic processes (self-organizing feedback) that both generate emergent properties and express downward causation
Keywords Emergence  Downward causation  Reduction  Self-organization  Chaos  Feedback
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-010-9719-1
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