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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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Conceptual Emergence

Conceptual Emergence

(p.180) 5 Conceptual Emergence

Paul Humphreys

Oxford University Press

Philip Anderson’s influential article “More Is Different” is examined and its recommendation of adopting a constructionist rather than a reductionist approach is discussed. It is argued that Anderson is defending a form of conceptual emergence. Philosophical counterparts to constructionism are examined, in particular Russell’s views on logical constructions and Occam’s Razor. Constructionism is compared with reductionism. The distinction between ontological reduction and ontological eliminativism is clarified, as is the relation between bridge laws and transordinal laws. Nagel reduction and Kemeny-Oppenheim reduction are analyzed. The role of new concepts in emergence is related to forms of functional reduction and dependency relations and some deficiencies of functional reduction are suggested.

Keywords:   constructionism, functional reduction, conceptual innovation, ontological reduction, ontological eliminativism, Bertrand Russell, logical constructions, Nagel reduction, conceptual emergence, Philip Anderson

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