Emergence, Dependence, and Fundamentality

Erkenntnis 83 (3):391-402 (2018)
Olley Pearson
Durham University
In a recent paper Barnes proposes to characterize ontological emergence by identifying the emergent entities with those entities which are both fundamental and dependent. Barnes offers characterizations of the notions of fundamentality and dependence, but is cautious about committing to the specifics of these notions. This paper argues that Barnes’s characterization of emergence is problematic in several ways. Firstly, emergence is a relation, and merely delimiting relata of this relation tells us little about it. Secondly, the group of entities delimited as dependent and fundamental do not appear to be the group of emergent entities. Rather, some entities appear to be dependent and fundamental and not emergent, whilst other entities appear to be emergent and not dependent and fundamental. The moral drawn is that in order to provide a characterization of emergence one must go beyond what Barnes says explicitly. It is also shown that a potentially fruitful way of doing this would be to further specify the notion of dependence at issue revealing it to be asymmetric and perhaps merely nomological.
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-017-9895-1
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References found in this work BETA

Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:1-16.
The Metaphysics within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (3):610-611.
Emergence and Fundamentality.Elizabeth Barnes - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):873-901.

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