The concept of emergence has seen a significant resurgence in philosophy and the sciences, yet debates regarding emergentist and reductionist visions of the natural world continue to be hampered by imprecision or ambiguity. Emergent phenomena are said to arise out of and be sustained by more basic phenomena, while at the same time exerting a "top-down" control upon those very sustaining processes. To some critics, this has the air of magic, as it seems to suggest a kind of circular causality. Other critics deem the concept of emergence to be objectionably anti-naturalistic. Objections such as these have led many thinkers to construe emergent phenomena instead as coarse-grained patterns in the world that, while calling for distinctive concepts, do not "disrupt" the ordinary dynamics of the finer-grained (more fundamental) levels. Yet, reconciling emergence with a (presumed) pervasive causal continuity at the fundamental level can seem to deflate emergence of its initially profound significance. This basic problematic is mirrored by similar controversy over how best to characterize the opposite systematizing impulse, most commonly given an equally evocative but vague term, "reductionism." The original essays in this volume help to clarify the alternatives: inadequacies in some older formulations and arguments are exposed and new lines of argument on behalf the two visions are advanced.
Table of Contents
List of Figures Introduction, Antonella Corradini and Timothy O’Connor PART I: Emergence: General Perspectives Introduction to Part 1 1. The Secret Lives of Emergents, Hong Yu Wong 2. On the Implications of Scientific Composition and Completeness: Or, The Troubles, and Troubles, of Non-Reductive Physicalism, Carl Gillett 3. Weak Emergence and Context-sensitive Reduction, Mark Bedau 4. Two Varieties of Causal Emergentism, Michele Di Francesco 5. The Emergence of Group Cognition, Georg Theiner and Timothy O’Connor PART II: Self, Agency and Free Will Introduction to Part 2 6. Why My Body is Not Me: The Unity Argument for Emergentist Self-Body Dualism, E. J. Lowe 7. What About the Emergence of Consciousness Deserves Puzzlement?, Martine Nida Rümelin 8. The Emergence of Rational Souls, Uwe Meixner 9. Are Deliberations and Decisions Emergent, if Free?, Achim Stephan 10. Is Emergentism Refuted by the Neurosciences? The Case of Free Will, Mario De Caro PART III: Physics, Mathematics, and the Special Sciences Introduction to part 3 11. Emergence in Physics, Patrick Mcgivern And Alexander Rueger 12. The Emergence of the Intuition of Truth in Mathematical Thought, Sergio Galvan 13. The Emergence of Mind at the Co-evolutive Level, Arturo Carsetti 14. Emerging Mental Phenomena: Implications for Psychological Explanation, Alessandro Antonietti 15. How Special are Special Sciences?, Antonella Corradini Notes on Contributors Index
Timothy O’Connor is professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy at Indiana University and a member of its Cognitive Sciences Program.
Antonella Corradini is Professor of Philosophy of the Human Sciences and of Philosophical Anthropology at the Catholic University of Milan, Italy.