1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Emergence

ISBN 9781138925083
Published March 15, 2019 by Routledge
420 Pages

USD $245.00

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Book Description

Emergence is often described as the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts: interactions among the components of a system lead to distinctive novel properties. It has been invoked to describe the flocking of birds, the phases of matter and human consciousness, along with many other phenomena. Since the nineteenth century, the notion of emergence has been widely applied in philosophy, particularly in contemporary philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and metaphysics. It has more recently become central to scientists’ understanding of phenomena across physics, chemistry, complexity and systems theory, biology and the social sciences.

The Routledge Handbook of Emergence is an outstanding reference source and exploration of the concept of emergence, and is the first collection of its kind. Thirty-two chapters by an international team of contributors are organised into four parts:

  • Foundations of emergence
  • Emergence and mind
  • Emergence and physics
  • Emergence and the special sciences

Within these sections important topics and problems in emergence are explained, including the British Emergentists; weak vs. strong emergence; emergence and downward causation; dependence, complexity and mechanisms; mental causation, consciousness and dualism; quantum mechanics, soft matter and chemistry; and evolution, cognitive science and social sciences.

Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and metaphysics, The Routledge Handbook of Emergence will also be of interest to those studying foundational issues in biology, chemistry, physics and psychology.

Table of Contents

Introduction Robin Hendry, Sophie Gibb, and Tom Lancaster

Part 1: Foundations of Emergence

1. British Emergentism Brian P. McLaughlin

2. Dependence Paul Noordhof

3. Fundamentality Kerry McKenzie

4. Reduction John Bickle

5. Emergence, function and realization Umut Baysan

6. Strong emergence and Alexander's dictum Alex Carruth

7. Emergence, downward causation and its alternatives: Critically Surveying a Foundational Issue Carl Gillett

8. The causal closure principle Sophie Gibb

9. Computational emergence: weak and strong Mark Pexton

10. Being Emergence vs. Pattern Emergence: Complexity, Control, and Goal-Directedness in Biological Systems Jason Winning and William Bechtel

11. Complexity and feedback Robert Bishop and Michael Silberstein

12. Between Scientism and Abstractionism in the Metaphysics of Emergence Jessica Wilson

Part 2: Emergence and Mind

13. Emergent Dualism in the Philosophy of Mind Hong Yu Wong

14. Emergent mental causation David Robb

15. Emergence and Non-Reductive Physicalism Cynthia Macdonald and Graham Macdonald

16. Intentionality and Emergence Lynne Rudder Baker

17. Emergence and consciousness Robert Van Gulick

18. Emergence and panpsychism John Heil

Part 3: Emergence and Physics

19. Phase transitions, broken symmetry and the renormalization group Stephen J. Blundell

20. Soft Matter – An Emergent Interdisciplinary Science of Emergent Entities Tom McLeish

21. Emergence in Non-relativistic Quantum Mechanics Stewart Clark and Iorwerth Thomas

22. The emergence of excitations in quantum fields: quasiparticles and topological objects Tom Lancaster

23. Emergence: a personal perspective on a new paradigm for scientific research David Pines

24. Emergence and Reductionism: an awkward Baconian alliance Piers Coleman

25. The emergence of space and time Christian Wüthrich

Part 4: Emergence and the Special Sciences

26. Digital Emergence Susan Stepney

27. Emergence in Chemistry: Substance and Structure Robin Findlay Hendry

28. Emergence in Biology: From Organicism to Systems Biology Emily Herring and Gregory Radick

29. Emergence in the cell Michel Morange

30. Evolution, Information, and Emergence George Ellis

31. A-mergence of biological systems Raymond Noble and Denis Noble

32. Emergence in the Social Sciences Julie Zahle and Tuukka Kaidesoja


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Sophie Gibb is a Professor and Head of Department in the Department of Philosophy at Durham University, UK.

Robin Hendry is a Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Philosophy at Durham University, UK.

Tom Lancaster is a Professor in the Department of Physics at Durham University, UK.