Synopses & Reviews
Much of the modern period was dominated by a `reductionist' theory of science. On this view, to explain any event in the world is to reduce it down to fundamental particles, laws, and forces. In recent years reductionism has been dramatically challenged by a radically new paradigm called `emergence'. According to this new theory, natural history reveals the continuous emergence of novel phenomena: new structures and new organisms with new causal powers. Consciousness is yet one more emergent level in the natural hierarchy. Many theologians and religious scholars believe that this new paradigm may offer new insights into the nature of God and God's relation to the world.
This volume introduces readers to emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it. Written by experts but suitable as an introductory text, these essays provide the best available presentation of this exciting new field and its potentially momentous implications.
This volume introduces readers to emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it. It provides the clearest explication yet of this exciting new theory of science, which challenges the reductionist approach by proposing the continuous emergence of novel phenomena.
Table of Contents
1. Conceptual Foundations of Emergence Theory, Philip Clayton
I. The Physical Sciences
2. The Physics of Downward Causation, Paul Davies
3. The Emergence of Classicality from Quantum Theory, Erich Joos
4. On the Nature of Emergent Reality, George F. R. Ellis
II. The Biological Sciences
5. Emergence: The Hole at the Wheel's Hub, Terrence Deacon
6. The Role of Emergence in Biology, Lynn Rothschild
7. Emergence in Social Evolution: A Great Ape Example, Barbara Smuts
III. Consciousness and Emergence
8. Being Realistic about Emergence, Jaegwon Kim
9. In Defence of Ontological Emergence and Mental Causation, Michael Silberstein
10. Emergence and Mental Causation, Nancey Murphy
11. Varieties of Emergence, David Chalmers
IV. Religion and Emergence
12. Emergence, Mind, and Divine Action: The Hierarchy of the Sciences in Relation to the Human Mind-Brain-Body, Arthur Peacocke
13. Emergence: What is at Stake for Religious Reflection?, Niels Henrik Gregersen
14. Emergence from Quantum Physics to Religion: A Critical Appraisal, Philip Clayton
Read the Tech Q&A with Paul Davies