Spacetime functionalism is the view that spacetime is a functional structure implemented by a more fundamental ontology. Lam and Wüthrich have recently argued that spacetime functionalism helps to solve the epistemological problem of empirical coherence in quantum gravity and suggested that it also (dis)solves the hard problem of spacetime, namely the problem of offering a picture consistent with the emergence of spacetime from a non-spatio-temporal structure. First, I will deny that spacetime functionalism solves the hard problem by showing that (...) it comes in various species, each entailing a different attitude towards, or answer to, the hard problem. Second, I will argue that the existence of an explanatory gap, which grounds the hard problem, has not been correctly taken into account in the literature. (shrink)
‘Space does not exist fundamentally: it emerges from a more fundamental non-spatial structure.’ This intriguing claim appears in various research programs in contemporary physics. Philosophers of physics tend to believe that this claim entails either that spacetime does not exist, or that it is derivatively real. In this article, I introduce and defend a third metaphysical interpretation of the claim: reductionism about space. I argue that, as a result, there is no need to subscribe to fundamentality, layers of reality and (...)emergence in order to analyse the constitution of space by non-spatial entities. It follows that space constitution, if borne out, does not provide empirical evidence in favour of a stratified, Aristotelian in spirit, metaphysics. The view will be described in relation to two particular research programs in contemporary physics: wave function realism and loop quantum gravity. (shrink)
David Wallace argues that we should take quantum theory seriously as an account of what the world is like--which means accepting the idea that the universe is constantly branching into new universes. He presents an accessible but rigorous account of the 'Everett interpretation', the best way to make coherent sense of quantum physics.
An examination is made of the way in which particles emerge from linear, bosonic, massive quantum field theories. Two different constructions of the one-particle subspace of such theories are given, both illustrating the importance of the interplay between the quantum-mechanical linear structure and the classical one. Some comments are made on the Newton-Wigner representation of one-particle states, and on the relationship between the approach of this paper and those of Segal, and of Haag and Ruelle.
Are the special sciences autonomous from physics? Those who say they are need to explain how dependent special science properties could feature in irreducible causal explanations, but that’s no easy task. The demands of a broadly physicalist worldview require that such properties are not only dependent on the physical, but also physically realized. Realized properties are derivative, so it’s natural to suppose that they have derivative causal powers. Correspondingly, philosophical orthodoxy has it that if we want special science properties to (...) bestow genuinely new causal powers, we must reject physical realization and embrace a form of emergentism, in which such properties arise from the physical by mysterious brute determination. In this paper, I argue that contrary to this orthodoxy, there are physically realized properties that bestow new causal powers in relation to their realizers. The key to my proposal is to reject causal-functional accounts of realization and embrace a broader account that allows for the realization of shapes and patterns. Unlike functional properties, such properties are defined by qualitative, non-causal specifications, so realizing them does not consist in bestowing causal powers. This, I argue, allows for causal novelty of the strongest kind. I argue that the molecular geometry of H2O—a qualitative, multiply realizable property—plays an irreducible role in explaining its dipole moment, and thereby bestows novel powers. On my proposal, special science properties can have the kind of causal novelty traditionally associated with strong emergence, without any of the mystery. (shrink)
The 'completeness of physics' is the key premise in the causal argument for physicalism. Standard formulations of it fail to rule out emergent downwards causation. I argue that it must do this if it is tare in a valid causal argument for physicalism. Drawing on the notion of conferring causal power, I formulate a suitable principle, 'strong completeness'. I investigate the metaphysical implications of distinguishing this principle from emergent downwards causation, and I argue that categoricalist accounts of properties are better (...) equipped to sustain the distinction than dispositional essentialist accounts. Finally, I argue that the additional evidence needed for strong completeness renders the causal argument otiose for any properties amenable to scientific reduction. (shrink)
Natural selection is commonly interpreted as the fundamental mechanism of evolution. Questions about how selection theory can claim to be the all-sufficient explanation of evolution often go unanswered by today's neo-Darwinists, perhaps for fear that any criticism of the evolutionary paradigm will encourage creationists and proponents of intelligent design.In Biological Emergences, Robert Reid argues that natural selection is not the cause of evolution. He writes that the causes of variations, which he refers to as natural experiments, are independent of natural (...) selection; indeed, he suggests, natural selection may get in the way of evolution. Reid proposes an alternative theory to explain how emergent novelties are generated and under what conditions they can overcome the resistance of natural selection. He suggests that what causes innovative variation causes evolution, and that these phenomena are environmental as well as organismal.After an extended critique of selectionism, Reid constructs an emergence theory of evolution, first examining the evidence in three causal arenas of emergent evolution: symbiosis/association, evolutionary physiology/behavior, and developmental evolution. Based on this evidence of causation, he proposes some working hypotheses, examining mechanisms and processes common to all three arenas, and arrives at a theoretical framework that accounts for generative mechanisms and emergent qualities. Without selectionism, Reid argues, evolutionary innovation can more easily be integrated into a general thesis. Finally, Reid proposes a biological synthesis of rapid emergent evolutionary phases and the prolonged, dynamically stable, non-evolutionary phases imposed by natural selection. (shrink)
Recent work in the Philosophy of Mind has suggested that alternatives to reduction are required in order to explain the relationship between psychology and biology or physics. Emergence has been proposed as one such alternative. In this paper, I propose a precise definition of emergence, and I argue that chaotic systems provide concrete examples of properties that meet this definition. In particular, I suggest that being in the basin of attraction of a strange attractor is an emergent property (...) of any chaotic nonlinear dynamical system. This shows that non-reductive accounts of inter-theoretic relations are necessary, and that non-reductive accounts of the mental are possible. Moreover, this work provides a foundation for future work investigating the nature of explanation, prediction, and scientific understanding of non-reductive phenomena. (shrink)
Both the special sciences and ordinary experience suggest that there are metaphysically emergent entities and features: macroscopic goings-on (including mountains, trees, humans, and sculptures, and their characteristic properties) which depend on, yet are distinct from and distinctively efficacious with respect to, lower-level physical configurations and features. These appearances give rise to two key questions. First, what is metaphysical emergence, more precisely? Second, is there any metaphysical emergence, in principle and moreover in fact? Metaphysical Emergence provides clear and (...) systematic answers to these questions. Wilson argues that there are two, and only two, forms of metaphysical emergence of the sort seemingly at issue in the target cases: 'Weak' emergence, whereby a dependent feature has a proper subset of the powers of the feature upon it depends, and 'Strong' emergence, whereby a dependent feature has a power not had by the feature upon which it depends. Weak emergence unifies and illuminates seemingly diverse accounts of non-reductive physicalism; Strong emergence does the same as regards seemingly diverse anti-physicalist views positing fundamental novelty at higher levels of compositional complexity. After defending the in-principle viability of each form of emergence, Wilson considers whether complex systems, ordinary objects, consciousness, and free will are actually metaphysically emergent. She argues that Weak emergence is quite common, and that there is Strong emergence in the important case of free will. (shrink)
The essays selected for this volume focus on issues that arise when attempting to design, review and undertake research involving human participants who are experiencing a private or public emergency. The main themes discussed by the essays are: the distinctive and significant ethical questions as to how research participants can be treated during emergency settings; the ethical challenges raised by emergencies for researchers undertaking research and its effects on the nature of research pursued; and procedural obstacles raised by emergencies which (...) can affect the quality of good research ethics review. The volume is unique in that it is the first collection to exclusively deal with all of the central ethical aspects of conducting human subject research in the context of emergency. (shrink)
I present in this article a new theory of structural properties or, more precisely, of structural kinds, such as being methane. According to this theory, structural kinds are kinds that are both emergent and sustained in their existence. In the first section, I introduce structural properties and four problems that affect the most widely held conception of them, namely, the pictorial conception. In the second section, I introduce some theses about emergence, powers, emergent powers, relations and structures that I (...) have defended in other works and that constitute the basis on which my theory of structural kinds is built up. In the third section, I eventually develop my theory in full detail and show how it can solve the problems mentioned in the second section. Finally, in the fourth section, I face five objections and briefly compare my account with some other accounts of structural properties. (shrink)
Emergence requires that the ultimate physical micro-entities have “micro-latent” causal powers, which manifest themselves only when the entities are combined in ways that are “emergence-engendering,” in addition to the “micro-manifest” powers that account for their behavior in other circumstances. Subjects of emergent properties will have emergent micro-structural properties, specified partly in terms of these micro-latent powers, each of which will be determined by a micro-structural property specified only in terms of the micro-manifest powers of the constituents and the (...) way they are related. If the determiner and the determined properties are distinct, this determination is the basis of the supervenience of emergent properties on non-emergent physical properties. If not, emergence does not involve such supervenience. Either way, there is no problem with diachronic downward causation. (shrink)
Motivated by the seeming structure of the sciences, metaphysical emergence combines broadly synchronic dependence coupled with some degree of ontological and causal autonomy. Reflecting the diverse, frequently incompatible interpretations of the notions of dependence and autonomy, however, accounts of emergence diverge into a bewildering variety. Here I argue that much of this apparent diversity is superficial. I first argue, by attention to the problem of higher-level causation, that two and only two strategies for addressing this problem accommodate the (...) genuine emergence of special science entities. These strategies in turn suggest two distinct schema for metaphysical emergence---'Weak' and 'Strong' emergence, respectively. Each schema imposes a condition on the powers of entities taken to be emergent: Strong emergence requires that higher-level features have more token powers than their dependence base features, whereas Weak emergence requires that higher-level features have a proper subset of the token powers of their dependence base features. Importantly, the notion of “power” at issue here is metaphysically neutral, primarily reﬂecting commitment just to the plausible thesis that what causes an entity may bring about are associated with how the entity is---that is, with its features. (shrink)
Emergencies are extreme events which threaten to cause massive disruption to society and negatively affect the physical and psychological well-being of its members. They raise important practical and theoretical questions about how we should treat each other in times of "crisis". The articles selected for this volume focus on the nature and significance of emergencies; ethical issues in emergency public policy and law; war, terrorism and supreme emergencies; and public health and humanitarian emergencies. Together they demonstrate the normative implications of (...) emergencies and provide multi-disciplinary perspectives on the ethics of emergency response. (shrink)
Sometimes, states face emergencies: situations where many individuals face an imminent threat of serious harm. Some believe that in such cases certain sorts of actions which are normally morally prohibited might be permissible. In this paper, I discuss this view as it applies in both the contexts of war and of public health policy. I suggest that the deontologist can best understand emergencies by analogy with the distinction between act- and rule consequentialism. In real world cases, we must often make (...) decisions in ‘epistemically murky’ situations, such that the application of deontological principles to particular cases is unclear. I suggest that we develop conventions to deal with such cases in a manner which we think is most likely to approximate the demands of abstract deontologicalprinciples across time. I claim that we can best understand ‘supreme emergencies’ as situations which ‘epistemic murkiness’ is resolved. In such cases, there may be a conflict between what would be valid application of abstract deontological principles and the conventions which normally guide us in epistemically murky situations. (shrink)
Emergence develops a novel account of diachronic ontological emergence called transformational emergence and locates it in an established historical framework. The author shows how many problems affecting ontological emergence result from a dominant but inappropriate metaphysical tradition and provides a comprehensive assessment of current theories of emergence.
Emergence develops a novel account of diachronic ontological emergence called transformational emergence and locates it in an established historical framework. The author shows how many problems affecting ontological emergence result from a dominant but inappropriate metaphysical tradition and provides a comprehensive assessment of current theories of emergence.
This is one of two papers about emergence, reduction and supervenience. It expounds these notions and analyses the general relations between them. The companion paper analyses the situation in physics, especially limiting relations between physical theories. I shall take emergence as behaviour that is novel and robust relative to some comparison class. I shall take reduction as deduction using appropriate auxiliary definitions. And I shall take supervenience as a weakening of reduction, viz. to allow infinitely long definitions. The (...) overall claim of this paper will be that emergence is logically independent both of reduction and of supervenience. In particular, one can have emergence with reduction, as well as without it; and emergence without supervenience, as well as with it. Of the subsidiary claims, the four main ones are: : I defend the traditional Nagelian conception of reduction ; : I deny that the multiple realizability argument causes trouble for reductions, or ``reductionism'' ; : I stress the collapse of supervenience into deduction via Beth's theorem ; : I adapt some examples already in the literature to show supervenience without emergence and vice versa. (shrink)
Inspiring teachers to teach with more spontaneity and creativity within a highly constrained educational environment, this text demonstrates through descriptive stories strategies for emergent teaching. The text is consistent with the theoretical understandings and research in the complexity sciences but takes a narrative approach, giving examples through stories, myths, and parables.
This paper looks at emergence in physical theories and argues that an appropriate way to understand socalled “emergent protectorates” is via the explanatory apparatus of the renormalization group. It is argued that mathematical singularities play a crucial role in our understanding of at least some well-defined emergent features of the world.
BackgroundHealth research often uses health information, a subcategory of personal information, collected during clinical encounters. Conditions under which such health information can be used for the secondary purpose of research are set out in state, national and international law. In Australia, consent is required or the relevant conditions for a waiver of consent must be met and approved by a human research ethics committee. Consent for use of health information for research is rarely sought at an emergency department presentation. Research (...) often occurs after the index visit and gaining consent can be difficult. Waiver of consent provisions are frequently used, but acceptability of this approach to patients is unclear.ObjectiveTo identify ED patients’ knowledge and attitudes towards the use of health information for research, consent preferences and acceptability of waiver of consent.MethodsAn online, anonymous survey of adult patients attending two large EDs in Melbourne, Australia.Results103 patients completed the survey. We found that 52% were unaware that health information might be used for research. A majority felt that HREC approval for use of health information without consent was acceptable. However, 36% would prefer to be contacted regarding consent.ConclusionThese findings suggest a lack of awareness that health information can be used for research and that waiver of consent is acceptable, but not necessarily preferred, in most of the ED patient population. Efforts to increase awareness and provide opportunities to express preferences about health information use for research are needed. (shrink)
Using as a starting point recent and apparently incompatible conclusions by Saunders and Knox, I revisit the question of the correct spacetime setting for Newtonian physics. I argue that understood correctly, these two versions of Newtonian physics make the same claims both about the background geometry required to define the theory, and about the inertial structure of the theory. In doing so I illustrate and explore in detail the view—espoused by Knox, and also by Brown —that inertial structure is defined (...) by the dynamics governing subsystems of a larger system. This clarifies some interesting features of Newtonian physics, notably the distinction between using the theory to model subsystems of a larger whole and using it to model complete universes, and the scale-relativity of spacetime structure. _1_ Introduction _2_ Newtonian Mechanics and Galilean Spacetime _3_ Vector Relationism and Maxwellian Spacetime _4_ Recovering the Galilei Group: Dynamics of Subsystems _5_ Knox on Inertial Structure _6_ Connections on Maxwellian Spacetime _7_ Knox on Newtonian Gravity _8_ Vector Relationism and Newton–Cartan Theory _9_ Inertial Structure in Newton–Cartan Gravity _10_ Reconciling Knox and Saunders _11_ Conclusions. (shrink)
This article provides an analysis and discussion of the concept of emergence in the context of the materialist turn in the discipline of geography. Etymologically, the word emergence is said to describe that which ‘becomes visible after being concealed’ but is also described as an ‘unforeseen occurrence; a state of things unexpectedly arising, and demanding immediate attention’. The concept is in this article analysed through the lens of two distinct traditions of thought. The first is commonly associated with (...) relational ontologies of becoming. The second finds its ‘roots’ and is ‘grounded’ in a metaphysical analysis of the ontology of being. Divisions between these two schools of thought are characterized by conceptual differences over concepts of space and place, difference and sameness, process and constancy, land and sea, etc.These differences are not restricted to the conceptual level but also bear political relevance. The article makes this explicit by looking at the theme of emergence, which can be understood either as a relational process of change or as a force of stability and a quest for origins. The former suggests an understanding of materiality that is always in a state of becoming, while the latter infers an approach to materiality that is static and permanent. The article critiques both of these approaches: the relational one for its lack of place, the metaphysical one for its reification of place and its omission of relationality. The article finishes with a call for an elemental ontological approach to place. Rather than abandoning place for the sake of space, the material turn should seek ways to broaden understandings of place. (shrink)
Emergence is a notorious philosophical term of art. A variety of theorists have appropriated it for their purposes ever since George Henry Lewes gave it a philosophical sense in his 1875 Problems of Life and Mind. We might roughly characterize the shared meaning thus: emergent entities (properties or substances) ‘arise’ out of more fundamental entities and yet are ‘novel’ or ‘irreducible’ with respect to them. (For example, it is sometimes said that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.) (...) Each of the quoted terms is slippery in its own right, and their specifications yield the varied notions of emergence that we discuss below. There has been renewed interest in emergence within discussions of the behavior of complex systems and debates over the reconcilability of mental causation, intentionality, or consciousness with physicalism. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss the two-system framework, examine its strengths, point out a fundamental weakness concerning the unity of conscious experience, and then propose a new hypothesis that avoids that weakness and other related concerns. According to our strong emergence hypothesis, what emerges are not merely mental properties in specialized, distributed neural areas, but also a new, irreducibly singular entity that functions in a recurrent manner to integrate its mental properties and to rewire its brain. We argue that (...) the former function is suggested, in part, by the effects of anesthetics on sensory integration, and that the latter function is suggested by evidence garnered from the neuroscience of mindfulness, constraint-induced movement therapy for stroke, and neuroimaging data surrounding mental illness. We then discuss how our strong emergence hypothesis relates to the description and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Finally, potential objections are addressed. (shrink)
Philosophical accounts of emergence have been explicated in terms of logical relationships between statements (derivation) or static properties (function and realization). Jaegwon Kim is a modern proponent. A property is emergent if it is not explainable by (or reducible to) the properties of lower level components. This approach, I will argue, is unable to make sense of the kinds of emergence that are widespread in scientific explanations of complex systems. The standard philosophical notion of emergence posits the (...) wrong dichotomies, confuses compositional physicalism with explanatory physicalism, and is unable to represent the type of dynamic processes (self-organizing feedback) that both generate emergent properties and express downward causation. (shrink)
The emergence of the new information economy hascomplicated jurisdictional issues in commerce andcrime. Many of these difficulties are simplyextensions of problems that arose due to other media.Telephones and fax machines had already complicatedjurists'' determinations of applicable laws. Evenbefore the Internet, contracts were often negotiatedwithout any face-to-face contact – entirely bytelephone and fax. Where is such a contractnegotiated? The answer to this question is critical toany litigation that may arise over such contracts. Thelaws of contract are often quite different from (...) onejurisdiction to the next.The Internet has brought with it new forms ofcommunication which make determining the loci of actseven more complicated. Where are contracts negotiatedwhen they are negotiated in cyberspace? Business isbeing conducted in chat rooms, on web sites, andthrough e-mail. Each of these is technically distinctfrom telephones and fax machines. More importantly,these tools seem ontologically different, in varyingdegrees, from traditional methods of communication.The question is, are these ontological differencessufficient to warrant new legal notions ofjurisdiction in cyberspace?Only a thorough ontological analysis of the parts ofcyberspace and acts ``in'''' it can reveal the answers tothe legal questions posed by this new medium.Traditional legal analyses have relied, in part, on acrude legal ontology. That is, courts have grappledwith notions of the topology and mereology of theworld and legal objects when considering questions ofjurisdiction. There is a simpler, theoretically soundmethod for determining legal jurisdiction which isbased upon the notion of ``purposeful direction,'''' andwhich treats computer-mediated transactions as justanother form of communication. I will explore thatmethod below. (shrink)
Historical records show that there was no real concept of probability in Europe before the mid-seventeenth century, although the use of dice and other randomizing objects was commonplace. Ian Hacking presents a philosophical critique of early ideas about probability, induction, and statistical inference and the growth of this new family of ideas in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Hacking invokes a wide intellectual framework involving the growth of science, economics, and the theology of the period. He argues that the (...) transformations that made it possible for probability concepts to emerge have constrained all subsequent development of probability theory and determine the space within which philosophical debate on the subject is still conducted. First published in 1975, this edition includes an introduction that contextualizes his book in light of developing philosophical trends. Ian Hacking is the winner of the Holberg International Memorial Prize 2009. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue for a new way of characterizing ontological emergence. I appeal to recent discussions in meta-ontology regarding fundamentality and dependence, and show how emergence can be simply and straightforwardly characterized using these notions. I then argue that many of the standard problems for emergence do not apply to this account: given a clearly specified meta-ontological background, emergence becomes much easier to explicate. If my arguments are successful, they show both a helpful way (...) of thinking about emergence and the potential utility of discussions in meta-ontology when applied to first-order metaphysics. (shrink)
Though most contemporary philosophers and scientists accept a physicalist view of mind, the recent surge of interest in the problem of consciousness has put the mind /body problem back into play. The physicalists' lack of success in dispelling the air of residual mystery that surrounds the question of how consciousness might be physically explained has led to a proliferation of options. Some offer alternative formulations of physicalism, but others forgo physicalism in favour of views that are more dualistic or that (...) bring in mentalistic features at the ground- floor level of reality as in pan-proto-psychism. My aim here is to give an overview of the recent philosophic discussion to serve as a map in locating issues and options. I will not offer a comprehensive survey of the debate or mark every important variant to be found in the recent literature. I will mark the principal features of the philosophic landscape that one might use as general orientation points in navigating the terrain. I will focus in particular on three central and interrelated ideas: those of emergence, reduction, and nonreductive physicalism. The third of these, which has emerged as more or less the majority view among current philosophers of mind, combines a pluralist view about the diversity of what needs to be explained by science with an underlying metaphysical commitment to the physical as the ultimate basis of all that is real. The view has been challenged from both left and right, on one side from dualists and on the other from hard core reductive materialists. Despite their differences, those critics agree in finding nonreductive physicalism an unacceptable and perhaps even incoherent position. They agree as well in treating reducibility as the essential criterion for physicality; they differ only about whether the criterion can be met. Reductive physicalists argue that it can, and dualists deny it. (shrink)
Emergence is much discussed by both philosophers and scientists. But, as noted by Mitchell (2012), there is a significant gulf; philosophers and scientists talk past each other. We contend that this is because philosophers and scientists typically mean different things by emergence, leading us to distinguish being emergence and pattern emergence. While related to distinctions offered by others between, for example, strong/weak emergence or epistemic/ontological emergence (Clayton, 2004, pp. 9–11), we argue that the being (...) vs. pattern distinction better captures what the two groups are addressing. In identifying pattern emergence as the central concern of scientists, however, we do not mean that pattern emergence is of no interest to philosophers. Rather, we argue that philosophers should attend to, and even contribute to, discussions of pattern emergence. But it is important that this discussion be distinguished, not conflated, with discussions of being emergence. In the following section we explicate the notion of being emergence and show how it has been the focus of many philosophical discussions, historical and contemporary. In section 3 we turn to pattern emergence, briefly presenting a few of the ways it figures in the discussions of scientists (and philosophers of science who contribute to these discussions in science). Finally, in sections 4 and 5, we consider the relevance of pattern emergence to several central topics in philosophy of biology: the emergence of complexity, of control, and of goal-directedness in biological systems. (shrink)
This paper explores the fundamental ideas that have motivated the idea of emergence and the movement of emergentism. The concept of reduction, which lies at the heart of the emergence idea is explicated, and it is shown how the thesis that emergent properties are irreducible gives a unified account of emergence. The paper goes on to discuss two fundamental unresolved issues for emergentism. The first is that of giving a “positive” characterization of emergence; the second is (...) to give a coherent explanation of how “downward” causation, a central component of emergentism, is able to avoid the problem of overdetermination. (shrink)
I shall introduce at the beginning of the paper a characterization of strong ontological emergence. According to it, roughly, something strongly emerges from some other thing iff the former depends in some respect on the latter and it some independent of it in some other respect. Afterwards, I shall present my own formulation of strong emergence, which is based on the distinction between the mere possession and the activation of a causal power. Causal powers are the entities to (...) be primarily taken as emergent. Emergent causal powers depend for their possession on their emergence bases, but they are also independent of the latter for their activation. This claim will be defended within some more general assumptions about the metaphysics of powers. Finally, I shall compare the power-based formulation of emergence with other formulations. I shall try to demonstrate that the power-based formulation is metaphysically less controversial than the other formulations. For the power-based formulation does not need to defend the additional thesis that the emergents can depend in some relevant respect on their bases and be independent of the latter in some other relevant respect. Indeed, the distinction between the mere possession and the activation of a power is inscribed in the nature of powers themselves. (shrink)
“Realization” and “emergence” are two concepts that are sometimes used to describe same or similar phenomena in philosophy of mind and the special sciences, where such phenomena involve the synchronic dependence of some higher-level states of affairs on the lower-level ones. According to a popular line of thought, higher-level properties that are invoked in the special sciences are realized by, and/or emergent from, lower-level, broadly physical, properties. So, these two concepts are taken to refer to relations between properties from (...) different levels where the lower-level ones somehow “bring about” the higher-level ones. However, for those who specialise in inter-level relations, there are important differences between these two concepts – especially if emergence is understood as strong emergence. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight these differences. (shrink)
The main contention of this article is that current approaches to ontological emergence are not comprehensive, in that they share a common bias that make them blind to some conceptual space available to emergence. In this article, I devise an alternative perspective on ontological emergence called ‘flat emergence’, which is free of such a bias. The motivation is twofold: not only does flat emergence constitute another viable way to fulfill the initial emergentist promise, but it (...) also allows for making sense of some emergence ascriptions that traditional accounts are unable to accommodate. (shrink)
This paper explicates two notions of emergencewhich are based on two ways of distinguishinglevels of properties for dynamical systems.Once the levels are defined, the strategies ofcharacterizing the relation of higher level to lower levelproperties as diachronic and synchronic emergenceare the same. In each case, the higher level properties aresaid to be emergent if they are novel or irreducible with respect to the lower level properties. Novelty andirreducibility are given precise meanings in terms of the effectsthat the change of a bifurcation (...) or perturbation parameterin the system has. (The same strategy can be applied to otherways of separating levels of properties, like themicro/macro distinction.)The notions of emergence developed here are notions of emergencein a weak sense: the higher level emergent properties wecapture are always structural properties (or are realized insuch properties), that is, they are defined in terms of the lowerlevel properties and their relations. Diachronic and synchronicemergent properties are distinctions within thecategory of structural properties. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
I argue that supervenience is an inadequate device for representing relations between different levels of phenomena. I then provide six criteria that emergent phenomena seem to satisfy. Using examples drawn from macroscopic physics, I suggest that such emergent features may well be quite common in the physical realm.
A phenomenon “emerges” when a concept is instantiated for the first time: hence emergence is relative to a set of concepts. Propositional thought and language emerge together. It is proposed that the degree of complexity of an object language relative to a given metalanguage can be gauged by the number of ways it can be translated into that metalanguage: in analogy with other forms of measurement, the more ways the object language can be translated into the metalanguage, the less (...) powerful the conceptual resources of the object language. (shrink)
Liberal democracies deal poorly with states of emergency because they underestimate the corrosive effect of arbitrary coercion on established liberal democratic values. Far from protecting the rights of citizens, arbitrary emergency measures undermine citizens’ rights.
We offer a new argument for the claim that there can be non-degenerate objective chance (“true randomness”) in a deterministic world. Using a formal model of the relationship between different levels of description of a system, we show how objective chance at a higher level can coexist with its absence at a lower level. Unlike previous arguments for the level-specificity of chance, our argument shows, in a precise sense, that higher-level chance does not collapse into epistemic probability, despite higher-level properties (...) supervening on lower-level ones. We show that the distinction between objective chance and epistemic probability can be drawn, and operationalized, at every level of description. There is, therefore, not a single distinction between objective and epistemic probability, but a family of such distinctions. (shrink)
In this article I address the issue of the ontological conditions of possibility for a naturalistic notion of emergence, trying to determine its fundamental differences from the atomist, vitalist, preformationist and potentialist alternatives. I will argue that a naturalistic notion of ontological emergence can only succeed if we explicitly refuse the atomistic fundamental ontological postulate that asserts that every entity is endowed with a set of absolutely intrinsic properties, being qualitatively immutable through its extrinsic relations. Furthermore, it will (...) be shown that, ironically enough, this metaphysical assumption is implicitly shared by all the above mentioned alternatives to Emergentism. The current article concludes that the notion of organization by itself is not enough, and that ontological emergence can only be justified by assuming a relational ontological perspective that, in opposition both to atomism and holism, defends that the existence-conditions, the identity and the causal behavior of any emergent systemic property can only be conceived, and explained, as constructed by and through specific networks of qualitatively transformative relational processes that occur between the system’s components and between the system and its environment. Additionally, I try to explain how one can make sense of the idea that an emergent phenomenon is both dependent on, and autonomous from, its emergence base. (shrink)