Roberts on emergentism

10:25 AM 3rd talk of the MA conference:  Aaron Roberts, “In Defence of Emergentism”

Roberts argues O’Connor and Wong’s dynamic causal model of emergence evades Jagwon Kim’s criticisms of emergentism. Kim’s supervenience argument finds an inconsistency between a) mental properties are mentally efficacious; b) mental properties have distinct causal abilities, irreducible to those of basal physical properties. Kim tries to convince there’s an irresolvable tension between vertical determination and horizontal causation.  O’Connor and Wong’s model of emergence does not rely on the traditional supervenience relation in the manner of other models of emergence.

Byron Williston asks:  lots of questions about the diagram Roberts presented from O’Connor and Wong.  This one:

Neil Campbell:  Does closure get violated on this model?  Isn’t this….  a HUGE problem?

AR: It is a substance monism. Subjective qualitative experience isn’t well accounted for in our current physicalist science but no one here posits anything outside the physical realm.

NC: That’s the question–the status of these emergent properties.  If they are not nonphysical, is it emergence?

AR:  Ontologically new properties that weren’t there at a lower level and not just epistemologically.

NC and AR discuss Maxwell and electromagnetic force as a potential analogy. And then it is Tara’s turn…


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