9 Apr 2009

Conceptual Foundations of Emergence Theory, 4. Strong Emergence: C. D. Broad, Clayton

by Corry Shores
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Philip Clayton

"Conceptual Foundations of Emergence Theory"

4. Strong Emergence: C. D. Broad

C.D. Broad articulated emergentist ideas in his book The Mind and Its Place in Nature (1925). He is anti-dualist. His emergentism is based on a monistic physical world. It is not 'mechanistic' or a weak emergentism. There is one fundamental stuff. But it aggregates into various orders or levels. (9a)

We may express emergentism in terms of laws. On one level or order there are intra-ordinal laws. But between orders there are trans-ordinal laws. These explain how the emergent levels are linked to the lower ones. We cannot deduce an emergent law from the lower level. We just have to wait until it emerges, then we may study it. (9c)

Mental events occur on an emergent level. But we cannot explain consciousness by only noting the constituent lower-level mental events. Rather, we need to posit a 'central theory' that explains a unifying center that organizes the mental events. (10a)

Clayton, Philip. "Conceptual Foundations of Emergence Theory." in The Re-Emergence of Emergence: The Emergentist Hypothesis from Science to Religion. Ed. Philip Clayton and Paul Davies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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