Humeanism, Best System Laws, and Emergence

Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)
Olivier Sartenaer
Universität Köln
To this day, debates on ontological emergence have been almost exclusively carried out within non-humean power-based or law-based metaphysics, the main underlying stake being indeed whether or not irreducible causal powers, or irreducible governing laws, can happen to come into being under specific circumstances. It is therefore unsurprising that humeanists themselves never felt that attracted by emergence, consistently with Lewis’ own dismissal of "suchlike rubbish". In the present paper, I argue, contrary to this received wisdom, that humeanism and ontological emergence can actually peacefully coexist. Such a coexistence can be established by reviving some elements of John Stuart Mill’s philosophy of science, in which a very idiosyncratic account of diachronic, evolutionary emergence is associated with extensions of the humean mosaic and the correlative coming into being of new best system laws, which have the peculiarity of being temporally indexed. Incidentally, this reconciliation of humeanism and emergence allows for conceiving the autonomy of the special sciences in an interesting way, consistently with the reductionist ideal of a unified, all-encompassing science.
Keywords Emergence  Emergentism  Humeanism  Laws of nature  Best system analysis  Unity of science  Reductionism  John Stuart Mill
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 36,596
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 Limits of Humeanism.Jesse M. Mulder - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):671-687.
The Emergence of Better Best System Laws.Markus Schrenk - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):469-483.
A New Look at Emergence. Or When After is Different.Alexandre Guay & Olivier Sartenaer - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (2):297-322.
Humean Laws and Explanation.Daniel Graham Marshall - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3145-3165.
Minimal Anti-Humeanism.Harjit Bhogal - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):447-460.
Flat Emergence.Olivier Sartenaer - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (S1):225-250.
Nonlinearity and Metaphysical Emergence.Jessica M. Wilson - 2013 - In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science.
Can Primitive Laws Explain?Tyler Hildebrand - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13:1-15.
Dynamic Humeanism.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):983-1007.
Dynamic Humeanism.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx006.
Laws, Explanation, Governing, and Generation.Barry Ward - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):537 – 552.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
11 ( #507,407 of 2,303,829 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #48,166 of 2,303,829 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature