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Functions in Biological and Artificial WorldsComparative Philosophical Perspectives$
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Ulrich Krohs and Peter Kroes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262113212

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262113212.001.0001

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Technical Artifacts, Engineering Practice, and Emergence

Technical Artifacts, Engineering Practice, and Emergence

(p.277) 16 Technical Artifacts, Engineering Practice, and Emergence
Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds

Peter Kroes

The MIT Press

This chapter is concerned with the topic of emergent properties of technical artifacts. It suggests that three issues related to the occurrence of emergent features in technical systems are particularly important in engineering practice: emergent causal powers, the tension between emergent features and functional decomposition, and the unexpectedness and/or unpredictability of emergent features. It analyzes the possible effect of weak and strong forms of epistemic emergence for the control paradigm. This chapter argues that it is a mistake to assume that weak epistemic emergence implies unexpectedness and on that ground poses a threat to the control paradigm.

Keywords:   emergent properties, technical artifacts, engineering practice, causal powers, functional decomposition, epistemic emergence, control paradigm

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