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The Re-Emergence of EmergenceThe Emergentist Hypothesis from Science to Religion$
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Philip Clayton and Paul Davies

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199544318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199544318.001.0001

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Strong and Weak Emergence

Strong and Weak Emergence

Chapter:
(p.244) 11 Strong and Weak Emergence
Source:
The Re-Emergence of Emergence
Author(s):

David J. Chalmers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199544318.003.0011

A high-level phenomenon is strongly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are not deducible even in principle from truths in the low-level domain. Strong emergence is the notion of emergence that is most common in philosophical discussions of emergence, and is the notion invoked by the British emergentists of the 1920s. A high-level phenomenon is weakly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are unexpected given the principles governing the low-level domain. Weak emergence is the notion of emergence that is most common in recent scientific discussions of emergence, and is the notion that is typically invoked by proponents of emergence in complex systems theory. In a way, the philosophical morals of strong emergence and weak emergence are diametrically opposed.

Keywords:   strong emergence, weak emergence, emergent property, low-level domain

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