Emergence as non-aggregativity and the biases of reductionisms

Foundations of Science 5 (3):269-297 (2000)
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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DOI 10.1023/A:1011342202830
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Dave Elder-vass (2007). For Emergence: Refining Archer's Account of Social Structure. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (1):25–44.
Christopher J. Austin (forthcoming). Evo-Devo: A Science of Dispositions. European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-17.
Hyundeuk Cheon (2014). Distributed Cognition in Scientific Contexts. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):23-33.

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