Response to “Emergence in Sociology”

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (2):270-275 (2012)
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Abstract

Jens Greve has accurately summarized nonreductive individualism (NRI) and has made an important contribution to an ongoing discussion concerning individualism, reductionism, and emergentism. Greve’s primary criticism is of my account of downward causation, and he cites Kim’s critique of Fodor by analogy. I argue that my original paper already addressed Kim’s critique, by drawing on other philosophers of mind that Greve does not engage with, to make an argument for downward causation based on wild disjunction. Further, I argue that Greve does not successfully make the case that the issue of the autonomy of the mental level is distinct from the autonomy of the social level. As empirical examples of irreducible emergent group properties, I cite studies of improvisational theater dialogues, and studies of social networks

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