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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 Background and Polemics

Introduction to Background and Polemics

(p.337) Introduction to Background and Polemics

Mark A. Bedau

Paul Humphreys

The MIT Press

The following chapters aim to provide some classic resources on certain philosophical and scientific assumptions and techniques, such as reduction, supervenience, multiple realization, downwards causation, complexity theory, and chaos. Many of these topics also contain creative contributions to the topics of reduction and emergence, and illustrate the polemics that often surround discussions of emergence. A frequently expressed belief is that, in some sense, physical facts are all the facts that exist and all that need to exist, a belief which lies at the core of the contemporary philosophical position called physicalism. One version of physicalism holds that fundamental physics captures the basic truths about the world and determines everything else in physics as well as in chemistry and in biology.

Keywords:   reduction, supervenience, multiple realization, downwards causation, complexity theory, chaos, emergence, polemics, physicalism, fundamental physics

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