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EmergenceContemporary Readings in Philosophy and Science$
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Mark A. Bedau and Paul Humphreys

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026215

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026215.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction

Mark A. Bedau

Paul Humphreys

The MIT Press

This introduction explains the concept of emergence and examines how it is treated in contemporary philosophy and science. Emergence relates to phenomena which arise from and depend on some more basic phenomena yet are simultaneously autonomous from that base. This introduction provides examples of evident emergent phenomena, calls attention to a few methodological subtleties, and then highlights some central open questions about emergence that the chapters in this book collectively address. Understanding emergence entails the consideration of widely cited core examples of apparent emergent phenomena, which involve a wide variety of cases. One group of examples focuses on certain properties of physical systems, while another focuses on the collective behavior of human agents. Ultimately, the goal is to gain an understanding of emergence that is both philosophically rigorous and useful in empirical science.

Keywords:   emergence, contemporary philosophy, emergent phenomena, philosophically rigorous, empirical science

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