Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 01 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys contemporary theories of emergence and argues that no comprehensive account currently exists. It separates ontological emergence, epistemological emergence, and conceptual emergence, as well as discussing synchronic and diachronic forms of each. It further argues that the emphasis on emergence in the philosophy of mind has led to a neglect of diachronic emergence and that the contrast between reduction and emergence has reinforced that bias. Downward causation is assessed as being less of a problem for ontological emergence than usually supposed; recent presentations of weak emergence and of undecidability results are discussed. Universality and nonlinearity as sources of emergence are examined, as is the role of holism in emergence and skepticism about the existence of emergence. Finally, a tentative suggestion is made about how to bring order to this vast literature.

Keywords: emergence, holism, reduction, nonlinearity, downward causation, undecidability

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.