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Essays in the Metaphysics of Mind$
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Jaegwon Kim

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199585878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585878.001.0001

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The Layered World: Metaphysical Considerations

The Layered World: Metaphysical Considerations

(p.41) 2 The Layered World: Metaphysical Considerations
Essays in the Metaphysics of Mind

Jaegwon Kim (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

“The Layered World: Metaphysical Considerations” examines the idea, often presupposed in philosophical discussions but seldom explicitly stated, that the objects and phenomena of the world are structured in a hierarchy of “levels”, from the bottom level of microparticles to the levels of cells and biological organisms and then to the levels of creatures with mentality and social groups of such creatures. Parallel to this “layered” picture of the natural world is an ordering of the sciences with physics as our “basic” science and the special sciences forming a ladder‐like hierarchy, from biology to psychology to the social sciences. This hierarchical model of reality is central to emergentism, and C. Lloyd Morgan's version is considered. Also considered is the reductive model of Paul Oppenheim and Hilary Putnam. Some complex metaphysical issues are seen to arise from these models, and the viability of the layered view of the world is discussed.

Keywords:   layered model, level, hierarchical model, emergentism, reduction, microreduction

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