Nonlinearity and metaphysical emergence

In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science (2013)

Abstract

The nonlinearity of a composite system, whereby certain of its features (including powers and behaviors) cannot be seen as linear or other broadly additive combinations of features of the system's composing entities, has been frequently seen as a mark of metaphysical emergence, coupling the dependence of a composite system on an underlying system of composing entities with the composite system's ontological autonomy from its underlying system. But why think that nonlinearity is a mark of emergence, and moreover, of metaphysical rather than merely epistemological emergence? Are there diverse ways in which nonlinearity might enter into an account of properly metaphysical emergence? And what are the prospects for there actually being phenomena that are metaphysically emergent in any available sense? Here I explore the mutual bearing of nonlinearity and metaphysical emergence, with an eye towards answering these and related questions.

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Jessica M. Wilson
University of Toronto at Scarborough

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Citations of this work

Metaphysical Emergence: Weak and Strong.Jessica Wilson - 2015 - In Tomasz Bigaj & Christian Wuthrich (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities. pp. 251-306.
Taking Emergentism Seriously.Lei Zhong - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):31-46.
The Dynamics of Group Cognition.S. Orestis Palermos - 2016 - Minds and Machines 26 (4):409-440.

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