Making Room for Emergence
Keywords:Quality, Efficient Causation, Formal Causation, Supervenience
We try to provide in outline an understanding of emergent properties, which should possibly make the idea of emergence not just plausible but compelling. It is our conviction that the core truth of emergentism is neither especially exotic nor counterintuitive, while its apparent eccentricity is essentially due to some prejudicial ontological assumptions. In the first half of the paper our argument develops through Jaegwon Kim’s rejection of emergentism.
We argue that Kim’s use of both the “causal inheritance principle” and the “causal closure principle” in his criticism of emergence is unwarranted. In the second half of the paper we develop a positive account of emergence through a restoration of the ontological notion of quality. We contend that any monistic ontology, in order to account for experience, must make room for irreducible qualities and that efficaciousness cannot be denied to them. The novelty of emergent properties amounts to a priori unpredictability, due to the very nature of combination. Their efficaciousness is interpreted in terms of qualifying thresholds modulating the mode of efficaciousness.
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work five (5) years after publication licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- After five years from first publication, Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.