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Downward Causation without Foundations

Bitbol, Michel (2010) Downward Causation without Foundations. [Published Article]

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    Emergence is interpreted in a non-dualist framework of thought. No metaphysical distinction between the higher and basic levels of organization is supposed, but only a duality of modes of access. Moreover, these modes of access are not construed as mere ways of revealing intrinsic patterns of organization: They are supposed to be constitutive of them, in Kant’s sense. The emergent levels of organization, and the inter-level causations as well, are therefore neither illusory nor ontologically real: They are objective in the sense of transcendental epistemology. This neo-Kantian approach defuses several paradoxes associated with the concept of downward causation, and enables one to make good sense of it independently of any prejudice about the existence (or inexistence) of a hierarchy of levels of being.

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    Item Type: Published Article
    Keywords: emergence, inter-level relations, anti-foundationalism, transcendentalism, objectivity, anti-realism, quantum mechanics.
    Subjects: General Issues > Causation
    Depositing User: Prof. Michel Bitbol
    Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2012 08:44
    Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 08:44
    Item ID: 9033
    Journal or Publication Title: Synthese
    Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
    Official URL:

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