Many philosophers of science are ontologically committed to a lush rainforest of special science entities ), but are often reticent about the criteria that determine which entities count as real. On the other hand, the metaphysics literature is much more forthcoming about such criteria, but often links ontological commitment to irreducibility. We argue that the irreducibility criteria are in tension with scientific realism: for example, they would exclude viruses, which are plausibly theoretically reducible and yet play a sufficiently important role in scientific accounts of the world that they should be included in our ontology. In this paper, we show how the inhabitants of the rainforest can be inoculated against the eliminative threat of reduction: by demonstrating that they are emergent. According to our account, emergence involves a screening off condition as well as novelty. We go on to demonstrate that this account of emergence, which is compatible with theoretical reducibility, satisfies common intuitions concerning what should and shouldn't count as real: viruses are emergent, as are trouts and turkeys, but philosophically gerrymandered objects like trout-turkeys do not qualify.
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Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
Idealization and the Aims of Science.Angela Potochnik - 2017 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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