Emergence: A Philosophical Account

ISBN : 9780190620325

Paul Humphreys
312 ページ
140 x 210 mm

Interest in emergence amongst philosophers and scientists has grown in recent years, yet the concept continues to be viewed with skepticism by many. In this book, Paul Humphreys argues that many of the problems arise from a long philosophical tradition that is overly committed to synchronic reduction and has been overly focused on problems in philosophy of mind. He develops a novel account of diachronic ontological emergence called transformational emergence, shows that it is free of the problems raised against synchronic accounts, shows that there are plausible examples of transformational emergence within physics and chemistry, and argues that the central ideas fit into a well established historical tradition of emergence that includes John Stuart Mill, G.E. Moore, and C.D. Broad. The book also provides a comprehensive assessment of current theories of emergence and so can be used as a way into what is by now a very large literature on the topic. It places theories of emergence within a plausible classification, provides criteria for emergence, and argues that there is no single unifying account of emergence. Reevaluations of related topics in metaphysics are provided, including fundamentality, physicalism, holism, methodological individualism, and multiple realizability, among others. The relations between scientific and philosophical conceptions of emergence are assessed, with examples such as self-organization, ferromagnetism, cellular automata, and nonlinear systems being discussed. Although the book is written for professional philosophers, simple and intuitively accessible examples are used to illustrate the new concepts.


1. Basic Features of Emergence
§1.0 Introduction
§1.0.1 The General Approach
§1.1 A General Strategy
§1.1.1 Method
§1.1.2 Models and Reality
§1.2 Generative Atomism
§1.2.1 An Aside on Eddington's Tables
§1.2.2 Generalizations
§1.3 Checkers World
§1.4 Atomism
§1.4.1 Immutability
§1.4.2 Indivisibility
§1.4.3 Distinguishability
§1.4.4 What Counts as an Atom?
§1.5 Criteria for Emergence
§1.5.1 The First Feature: Emergence is Relational
§1.5.2 The Second and Third Features: Novelty and Autonomy
§1.5.3 Holism
§1.6 A Taxonomy for Emergence
§1.6.1 Inferential Emergence
§1.6.2 Conceptual Emergence
§1.6.3 Ontological Emergence
§1.6.4 The Temporal Taxonomy
§1.7 Examples of Emergence
§1.8 Other Approaches to Emergence
§1.8.1 Emergence as Unexplainability.
§1.8.2 Nomological Emergence.
§1.8.3 Emergence as a Result of Essential Interactions
§1.8.4 Emergence as Non-Definability.
§1.9 The Rarity Heuristic
2. Ontological Emergence
§2.0 Ontological Emergence
§2.1 Transformational Emergence
§2.1.1 A Possible Example of Transformational Emergence
§2.2 Fusion Emergence
§2.2.1 The Money Example: Fusion without Emergence
§2.2.2 The Probability Example: Failure of Supervenience without Fusion
§2.2.3 The Representation of Fusion
§2.2.4 Defusion
§2.2.5 Examples
§2.3 Arguments Against Fusion
§2.4 The Origins of the Universe Argument
3. Ancestors and Relatives
§3.0 Mill and Broad on Emergence
§3.1 Internal and External Relations
§3.1.1 G.E. Moore
§3.1.2 Lewis's Definitions
§3.1.3 Relationism, Holism, and Interactions
§3.2 Levels
§3.3 Downward Causation
§3.3.1 Cube World
§3.4 Holism, Contextualism, and Transformation
§3.4.1 Transformation Revisited
§3.4.2 Contextualism and Compositionality
§3.4.3 Generative Atomism Again
4. Inferential Emergence
§4.0 A Definition
§4.1 Pattern Emergence
§4.1.1 Nonrandomness
§4.1.2 Self-Organization
§4.1.3 Generation and Stability
§4.1.4 Pattern Emergence Need Not Be Discontinuous
§4.1.5 Pattern Emergence is Historical
§4.1.6 Properties of Pattern Emergence
§4.1.7 Multiple Instantiability and Multiple Realizability
§4.2 Weak Emergence
§4.2.1 Illustrations: Bird Flocking and Traffic Jams
§4.2.2 Assessment
§4.2.3 Weak Emergence as Explanatory Incompressibility
§4.2.4 Weak Emergence and Explanation
5. Conceptual Emergence
§5.0 Conceptual Innovation
§5.1 Reduction and Construction
§5.1.1 A Turn to Ontology
§5.2 Philosophical Counterparts to Constructionism
§5.3 Functional Reduction
6. Philosophical Topics Related to Emergence
§6.0 Physicalism
§ 6.0.1 Motivations for Physicalism
§ 6.0.2 Limit Physics
§6.1 Emergence as Supervenience
§6.1.1 Nomological Supervenience
§6.1.2 Why Use Supervenience?
§6.1.3 Supervenience Definitions
§6.1.4 Nomological or Logical Necessitation?
§6.1.5 Supervenience is Not Explanatory
§6.1.6 Humean Supervenience
§6.2 Fundamentality
§6.3 Multiple Realizability
§6.3.1 Token versus Type Identity
§6.4 Compositionality and Aggregativity
§6.4.1 A Suggested Amendment to the Nonaggregativity Approach
§6.5 Emergence as Non-Structural Properties
§6.5.1 The Relation of Nonstructural Properties to Transformational Emergence
§6.6 Properties and Objects
7. Scientific Topics Related to Emergence
§7.0 An Example: Ferromagnetism
§7.0.1 Basic Features of Ferromagnetism
§7.0.2 The Status of Ferromagnetism as an Emergent Phenomenon
§7.0.3 Models, Possibilities, and Actuality
§7.1 Linearity, Nonlinearity, and Complexity Theory
§7.1.1 Linearity
§7.1.2 Complexity Theory
§7.2 Dynamical Systems


Paul Humphreys is Commonwealth Professor of Philosophy and co-Director of the Center for the Study of Data and Knowledge at the University of Virginia. Co-editor of the widely used collection Emergence: Contemporary Readings in Science and Philosophy, his current research interests include computational science, data analytics in science and the humanities, probability, causality, and explanation.