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A Physicist’s Road to Emergence: A Revisited Story of “More Is Different”

Muñoz Garganté, Nuria (2019) A Physicist’s Road to Emergence: A Revisited Story of “More Is Different”. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is, in a nutshell, to rethink the common narrative around one of the most influential papers of the second half of the 20th century: “More is different” (1972) by Philip Anderson. In particular, my aim is to open a new, more realistic way of reading the article, avoiding the two usual simplistic readings which involve, on the one hand, an over-historicisation of the paper which mainly focuses on the socio-ideological battle between solid state and particle physicists starting in the 1970s, and, on the other hand, an under-historicisation focusing mainly in extracting a philosophically coherent view of Anderson’s emergence from the paper. Avoiding these two caricatures of “More is different” as the “political manifesto” or the “philosophical manifesto”, another reading is possible which places Anderson’s research at the confluence of crucial developments in condensed matter physics in the 1960s and offers a possible explanation to the puzzle of why did emergence in physics appeared only in the 1970s, and seemingly by the hand of a single actor?
I will back up my hypothesis by offering an additional context alongside the socio-ideological and philosophical ones: the bibliographical context of Anderson’s research between 1949 and 1972. I will highlight his most important contributions to the field of condensed matter physics connecting them one by one to the examples chosen by Anderson to exemplify his ideas in “More is different’ and how they shaped his understanding of what he will later call emergence.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Muñoz Garganté, Nurian.munoz.gargante@gmail.com
Keywords: emergence Anderson More is different condensed matter physics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Ms. Nuria Muñoz Gargante
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2019 03:08
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2019 03:08
Item ID: 16240
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16240

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