Minds and Machines 18 (4):443-459 (2008)

Authors
Mark Bedau
Reed College
Abstract
Weak emergence is the view that a system’s macro properties can be explained by its micro properties but only in an especially complicated way. This paper explains a version of weak emergence based on the notion of explanatory incompressibility and “crawling the causal web.” Then it examines three reasons why weak emergence might be thought to be just in the mind. The first reason is based on contrasting mere epistemological emergence with a form of ontological emergence that involves irreducible downward causation. The second reason is based on the idea that attributions of emergence are always a reflection of our ignorance of non-emergent explanations. The third reason is based on the charge that complex explanations are anthropocentric. Rather than being just in the mind, weak emergence is seen to involve a distinctive kind of complex, macro-pattern in the mind-independent objective micro-causal structure that exists in nature. The paper ends by addressing two further questions. One concerns whether weak emergence applies only or mainly to computer simulations and computational systems. The other concerns the respect in which weak emergence is dynamic rather than static
Keywords Computational emergence   Dynamic emergence   Epistemological emergence   Explanatory incompressibility   Micro-causal network   Micro-causal web   Weak emergence
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11023-008-9122-6
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,316
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Making Sense of Emergence.Jaegwon Kim - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):3-36.
Weak Emergence.Mark A. Bedau - 1997 - Philosophical Perspectives 11:375-399.
The Search for Ontological Emergence.Michael Silberstein & John Mcgeever - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (195):201-214.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Metaphysical Emergence: Weak and Strong.Jessica Wilson - 2015 - In Tomasz Bigaj & Christian Wuthrich (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities. pp. 251-306.
Emergence Without Limits: The Case of Phonons.Alexander Franklin & Eleanor Knox - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:68-78.
An Explication of Emergence.Elanor Taylor - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (3):653-669.

View all 36 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Microdeterminism and Concepts of Emergence.Robert L. Klee - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (March):44-63.
Synchronic and Diachronic Emergence.Paul Humphreys - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (4):431-442.
Weak Emergence.Mark A. Bedau - 1997 - Philosophical Perspectives 11:375-399.
Computational and Conceptual Emergence.Paul Humphreys - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):584-594.
Quantifying Weak Emergence.Paul Hovda - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (4):461-473.
Emergentism, Irreducibility, and Downward Causation.Achim Stephan - 2002 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 65 (1):77-93.
Levels, Emergence, and Three Versions of Downward Causation.Claus Emmeche, Simo Koppe & Frederick Stjernfelt - 2000 - In P.B. Andersen, Claus Emmeche, N.O. Finnemann & P.V. Christiansen (eds.), Downward Causation. Aarhus, Denmark: University of Aarhus Press. pp. 322-348.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
259 ( #42,863 of 2,519,317 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #116,995 of 2,519,317 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes