Foundations of Science 5 (3):269-297 (2000)

William C. Wimsatt
University of Minnesota
Most philosophical accounts of emergence are incompatible with reduction. Most scientists regard a system property as emergent relative to properties of its parts if it depends upon their mode of organization-a view consistent with reduction. Emergence is a failure of aggregativity, in which ``the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts''. Aggregativity requires four conditions, giving powerful tools for analyzing modes of organization. Differently met for different decompositions of the system, and in different degrees, the structural conditions can provide evaluation criteria for choosing decompositions, ``natural kinds'', and detecting functional localization fallacies, approximations, and various biases of vulgar reductionisms. This analysis of emergence and use of these conditions as heuristics is consistent with a broader reductionistic methodology.
Keywords additivity  aggregativity  emergence  functional localization fallacies  heuristics  near-decomposeability  reduction  whole-parts relations
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1011342202830
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Is Weak Emergence Just in the Mind?Mark A. Bedau - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (4):443-459.
The Dynamics of Group Cognition.S. Orestis Palermos - 2016 - Minds and Machines 26 (4):409-440.
For Emergence: Refining Archer's Account of Social Structure.Dave Elder-Vass - 2007 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (1):25–44.

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