Abstractions and Implementations

Abstract

Fundamental to Computer Science is the distinction between abstractions and implementations. When that distinction is applied to various philosophical questions it yields the following conclusions. • EMERGENCE. It isn’t as mysterious as it’s made out to be; the possibility of strong emergence is not a threat to science. • INTERACTIONS BETWEEN HIGHER-LEVEL ENTITIES. Physical interaction among higher-level entities is illusory. Abstract interactions are the source of emergence, new domains of knowledge, and complex systems. • PHYSICS and the SPECIAL SCIENCES. The new domains of knowledge derived from abstract interactions are the basis of the autonomy of the special sciences. • DOWNWARD CAUSATION. It’s a zombie idea that should have a stake put through its heart and be replaced by downward entailment.

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Russ Abbott
California State University, Los Angeles

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