Emergence (New Problems of Philosophy)

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9780415610810: Emergence (New Problems of Philosophy)

The problem of emergence is a central question in philosophy, at the heart of subjects such as metaphysics, philosophy of science and philosophy of mind: consciousness may be said to be an emergent property of brain. It is at the heart of debates about causation, supervenience and reductionism has been in use at least since Aristotle.

In this book, Patrick McGivern introduces and assesses the problem of emergence from a philosophical standpoint. He explains and assesses the following topics and arguments in clear fashion:

  • the origins of the concept of ‘emergence’ and key concepts in its early history, such as 'vitalism' and 'mechanism'
  • emergence and reduction, including Ernest Nagel's classic account of reduction
  • the role of 'levels' in emergence and reduction, including Kim's 'supervenience argument'
  • the problem of downward causation and causal completeness
  • emergence in quantum mechanics
  • emergence and complexity theory
  • dynamical emergence and systems theory.

Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary this is the ideal starting point for any student coming to the topic for the first time and students, researchers and philosophers working in philosophy of science, metaphysics and philosophy of mind.

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