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EmergenceA Philosophical Account$
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Paul Humphreys

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190620325

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190620325.001.0001

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Basic Features of Emergence

Basic Features of Emergence

(p.1) 1 Basic Features of Emergence

Paul Humphreys

Oxford University Press

A common metaphysical approach, generative atomism, is discussed together with generalizations such as Humean supervenience, and its merits and deficiencies are evaluated. Atomism requires that the atoms be immutable and individually distinguishable. It is suggested that claims of emergence are made when generative atomism fails. The difference between claims of emergence about models and claims about real systems is explored. A core example called Checkers World is used to motivate diachronic emergence. Four criteria for emergence are provided: development from, novelty, autonomy, and holism. It is argued that emergence is relational. The important distinction between causal closure and causal completeness of a domain is explained. A taxonomy of emergentist positions is provided, with ontological emergence, inferential emergence, and conceptual emergence each having synchronic and diachronic versions. Some core examples of emergence are discussed and the Rarity Heuristic is outlined.

Keywords:   generative atomism, Checkers World, causal closure, causal completeness, Rarity Heuristic, novelty, autonomy, holism, immutable

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