Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):833-842 (2016)

Alexander Skiles
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
In ‘Collapsing Emergence’, Elanor Taylor argues that all accounts of emergence face a common problem: excluding ‘collapse-inducing’ features—features encoding information about macro-level phenomena—from the micro-level bases of putatively emergent phenomena in a metaphysically principled way. I argue that Taylor's solution to ‘the collapse problem’, which utilizes an explanation-based account of emergence she develops in recent work, does not succeed, as it relies on a false principle about the requirements for explanation. I then propose a better solution, one that presupposes no specific account of emergence, instead relying on the metaphysically principled distinction between what is essential to the having of a feature versus what is not. In addition to solving the collapse problem, I show how the distinction is also a useful tool for articulating more and less robust ways in which emergent phenomena can be genuinely novel and autonomous from the micro-level features they emerge from.
Keywords Emergence  Explanation  Essence  Metaphysical dependence
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DOI 10.1093/pq/pqw009
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References found in this work BETA

The Nature of Normativity.Ralph Wedgwood - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):642-670.
Real Definition.Gideon Rosen - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (3):189-209.

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Citations of this work BETA

Power Emergentism and the Collapse Problem.Elanor Taylor - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (2):302-318.
Only Explanation Can Reinflate Emergence.Elanor Taylor - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly (271):385-394.

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