The Routledge Handbook of Emergence

Front Cover
Sophie Gibb, Robin Findlay Hendry, Tom Lancaster
Routledge, Mar 13, 2019 - Philosophy - 434 pages

Emergence is often described as the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts: interactions among the components of a system lead to distinctive novel properties. It has been invoked to describe the flocking of birds, the phases of matter and human consciousness, along with many other phenomena. Since the nineteenth century, the notion of emergence has been widely applied in philosophy, particularly in contemporary philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and metaphysics. It has more recently become central to scientists’ understanding of phenomena across physics, chemistry, complexity and systems theory, biology and the social sciences.

The Routledge Handbook of Emergence is an outstanding reference source and exploration of the concept of emergence, and is the first collection of its kind. Thirty-two chapters by an international team of contributors are organised into four parts:

  • Foundations of emergence
  • Emergence and mind
  • Emergence and physics
  • Emergence and the special sciences

Within these sections important topics and problems in emergence are explained, including the British Emergentists; weak vs. strong emergence; emergence and downward causation; dependence, complexity and mechanisms; mental causation, consciousness and dualism; quantum mechanics, soft matter and chemistry; and evolution, cognitive science and social sciences.

Essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and metaphysics, The Routledge Handbook of Emergence will also be of interest to those studying foundational issues in biology, chemistry, physics and psychology.


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Notes on contributors
Emergence in the social sciences
British emergentism
Emergence function and realization
Emergence and consciousness
Emergence and panpsychism
Phase transitions broken symmetry and the renormalization group
Soft matter an emergent interdisciplinary science of emergent entities
Emergence in nonrelativistic quantum mechanics
quasiparticles and topological
a personal perspective on a new paradigm for scientific research
an awkward Baconian alliance

Strong emergence and Alexanders dictum
critically surveying
weak and strong
complexity control and goaldirectedness
Complexity and feedback
Between scientism and abstractionism in the metaphysics of emergence
Emergent dualism in the philosophy of mind
Emergence and nonreductive physicalism
Intentionality and emergence
The emergence of space and time
Digital emergence
substance and structure
from organicism to systems biology
Emergence in the cell
Amergence of biological systems
The causal closure principle

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About the author (2019)

Sophie Gibb is a Professor and Head of Department in the Department of Philosophy at Durham University, UK.

Robin Hendry is a Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Philosophy at Durham University, UK.

Tom Lancaster is a Professor in the Department of Physics at Durham University, UK.

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