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Similarity Structure and Emergent Properties

Fletcher, Samuel C. (2019) Similarity Structure and Emergent Properties. Philosophy of Science, 87 (2). pp. 281-301. ISSN 1539-767X

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Abstract

The concept of emergence is commonly invoked in modern physics but rarely defined; even when it is, it is typically only done so informally. Building on recent influential work by Butterfield (2011a,b), I provide precise definitions of emergence concepts as they pertain to properties represented in models, applying them to some basic examples from spacetime and thermostatistical physics. The chief formal innovation I employ, similarity structure, consists in a structured set of similarity relations amongst those models under analysis - and their properties - and is a generalization of topological structure. Although motivated from physics, this similarity-structure-based account of emergence applies to any science that represents its possibilia with (mathematical) models.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fletcher, Samuel C.scfletch@umn.edu0000-0002-9061-8976
Additional Information: This is the postprint version: after final peer review but before copyediting. Published in 2020. Also available at author's website.
Keywords: Similarity, Topology, Emergence, Models
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Prof. Samuel C. Fletcher
Date Deposited: 29 May 2020 03:27
Last Modified: 29 May 2020 03:27
Item ID: 17227
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Science
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1086/707563
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Date: 1 August 2019
Page Range: pp. 281-301
Volume: 87
Number: 2
ISSN: 1539-767X
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17227

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