IAS Annual Report 2014-15 - page 10

Emergence is a major focus of interest in science and
philosophy, where debates centre on the potential for ‘strong
emergence’: the appearance of novelty in the world in the
form of new properties, objects, laws or causal powers.
What does it mean and how do we recognise emergence in
the human mind, in physical or chemical processes, or in
social, biological and ecological systems? This sub-theme
included a major interdisciplinary research initiative already
underway in Durham, in which scientists and philosophers
re-examined debates over reduction and emergence.
Emergence: where is the evidence?
led by Professor
aimed to bring philosophers and scientists together
to explore philosophical and scientific characterisations of
strong emergence, and to critically examine evidence for
and against its existence, arising from the natural and social
sciences, and philosophical accounts of human agency.
The year-long programme brought together 38 speakers
including philosophers, physicists, biologists, economists
and sociologists. Each workshop focussed on a key group of
issues in the emergence debate, including philosophical and
scientific characterisations of strong emergence, the unity
of science and the completeness of physics, the scientific
evidence and philosophical arguments for strong emergence,
and human agency as an emergent phenomenon. The
workshops intersected with a number of Durham based
events (also funded by the AHRC and the John Templeton
Foundation) on the topic of emergence, including summer
schools. Additional Templeton-funded events also took place
during 2014/15 in Glasgow, Leeds and Macerata (Italy). A
major outcome from this programme will be a number of
publications including an accepted proposal to Routledge
for an interdisciplinary
Handbook of Emergence
, with
contributions from both philosophers and natural and
social scientists.
A number of IAS Fellows were involved with the project
including philosopher of science, Professor
from the University of Toronto who gave a paper
Unification and Incompleteness
and discussed various
philosophical characterisations of unification and why
they bear little, if any, relation to completeness. She also
highlighted empirical problems related to electroweak
unification and what could be expected from BSM (beyond
the standard model) physics.
IAS Fellow Professor
John Heil
(Washington University
in St. Louis) also delivered a paper
(Real Agency)
in the
second workshop which explored how recent powers
theories of causation affect the debate about the existence
of downward causation and strong emergence. In his paper
John Heil argued that there are good reasons to think that
conditions for free actions – real agency – are sometimes
satisfied, that ascriptions of agency are sometimes true,
but that truthmakers for these ascriptions could be wholly
deterministic – or indeterministic – in a way that might seem
to place them at odds with genuinely free action.
Emergent Systems and Relations
Margaret Morrison
Mathematical Explanation and Complex Systems
– Insights Volume 8
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,...68
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