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Patternhood and Generality: A Peircean Approach to Emergence

Aames, Jimmy (2019) Patternhood and Generality: A Peircean Approach to Emergence. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, XI (2).

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Abstract

A distinction often drawn in the literature on emergence is that between epistemological emergence and ontological emergence. I argue that the position that there are instances of ontological emergence in the world (radical emergentism) and the position that all instances of emergence are epistemological (ontological reductionism) are both problematic. My aim in this paper is to outline a third form of emergence, inspired by the philosophical ideas of Charles S. Peirce and Daniel Dennett, which will allow us to avoid both radical emergentism and ontological reductionism. Since what emerges in this kind of emergence is a real pattern, I call it real pattern emergence (RP emergence).

A defining characteristic of a pattern is that it is more general than the elements or processes instantiating it. That is, the same pattern can be instantiated by different individual elements or processes. This generality of patterns makes them perfect candidates for applying Peirce’s rich theory of generals, including his pragmatism and Scholastic realism. I will argue that a real pattern is what Peirce calls a real general (or real Third), and like a real general, it is autonomous from the elements or processes instantiating it, because it supports predictions about not only what will happen in a given situation, but also what would happen in an indefinite variety of possible micro situations that are not actualized. This autonomy of real patterns will be the key feature that sets RP emergence apart from mere epistemological emergence, without, on the other hand, collapsing it into ontological emergence. The difference between RP emergence and Mark Bedau’s related notion of weak emergence will also be clarified.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Aames, Jimmyasonosakan@gmail.com0000-0003-2545-7392
Keywords: Charles S. Peirce, Daniel Dennett, real patterns, pragmatism, Scholastic realism, weak emergence
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Jimmy Aames
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2020 04:02
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2020 04:02
Item ID: 16878
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy
Publisher: Associazione Pragma
Official URL: https://journals.openedition.org/ejpap/1640
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.4000/ejpap.1640
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 24 December 2019
Volume: XI
Number: 2
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16878

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