Question: Does strong emergence exist?

Usually this form of emergence is stated in terms of supervenience of mental phenomena on subvenient/subjacent neural structures, and so mental states or properties co-exist with states or properties at the neural level. Strong ontological emergence is thus usually understood to be synchronic, “vertical”, emergence.

Is strong emergence possible?

Although strong emergence is logically possible, it is uncomfortably like magic. How does an irreducible but supervenient downward causal power arise, since by definition it cannot be due to the aggregation of the micro-level potentialities? Such causal powers would be quite unlike anything within our scientific ken.

Do emergent properties exist?

Emergent properties refer to those properties that are entirely unexpected and include emergent phenomena in materials and emergent behavior in living creatures. They arise from the collaborative functioning of a system, but do not belong to any one part of that system.

Does reductionism imply that there is no downward causation?

Reductionism implies that mind is an epiphenomenon, or worse, just an illusion. The reductionist idea that everything is the consequence of bottom up physical causes is often called eliminative materialism. By contrast, downward causation is a kind of holism that denies reductionism.

What is the problem of downward causation?

Downward causation is the controversial idea that higher levels of organization can causally influence behaviour at lower levels of organization.

How does emergence arise?

Unlike music from an orchestra led by the conductor, emergent behaviour arises spontaneously due to (often simple) interactions of the constituent parts with each other and the surrounding environment. Here, there is no “leader” deciding on the behaviour of the system.

Why is reductionism bad?

In doing so, ideological reductionism manifests a cascade of errors in method and logic: reification, arbitrary agglomeration, improper quantification, confusion of statistical artefact with biological reality, spurious localization and misplaced causality.

What is a reductionist argument?

Reductionism, in philosophy, a view that asserts that entities of a given kind are identical to, or are collections or combinations of, entities of another (often simpler or more basic) kind or that expressions denoting such entities are definable in terms of expressions denoting other entities.

What is top down causation?

Top-down causation 1: algorithmic top-down causation. Algorithmic top-down causation occurs when high-level variables have causal power over lower level dynamics through system structuring, so that the outcome depends uniquely on the higher level structural, boundary conditions and initial conditions.

What is an example of ontology?

An example of ontology is when a physicist establishes different categories to divide existing things into in order to better understand those things and how they fit together in the broader world.

What comes first ontology or epistemology?

The first branch is ontology, or the study of being, which is concerned with what actually exists in the world about which humans can acquire knowledge. The second branch is epistemology, the study of knowledge.

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