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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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Introduction to Philosophical Perspectives on Emergence

Introduction to Philosophical Perspectives on Emergence

(p.9) Introduction to Philosophical Perspectives on Emergence

Mark A. Bedau

Paul Humphreys

The MIT Press

The following chapters present and elaborate on the leading themes about emergence in contemporary philosophy. Due to the conceptual subtlety and multifaceted nature of emergence as a topic of discussion, philosophical precision is required so that it is easier to understand what emergence is and when it occurs. One central question surrounding the topic is how to characterize emergent phenomena more accurately. Emergent phenomena frequently are taken to be irreducible, to be unpredictable or unexplainable, to require novel concepts, and to be holistic. Some accounts of emergence favor only one idea to the exclusion of all the others, while others simultaneously embrace many. These are merely indications of the leading ideas about emergence and do not, in any way, constitute an exhaustive list.

Keywords:   emergence, contemporary philosophy, philosophical precision, emergent phenomena, holistic

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