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Kim, Jaegwon, , . Making Sense of Emergence
1999, Philosophical Studies 95(1-2): 3-36.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Summary: This chapter explores the core thought of the idea of emergentism, that as systems acquire increasingly higher degrees of organizational complexity, they begin to exhibit novel properties which in some sense transcend the properties of their constituent parts, and behave in ways that cannot be predicted on the basis of the laws governing simpler systems. The birth of emergentism can be traced back to John Stuart Mill and his distinction between “heteropathic” and “homeopathic” laws. Academic philosophers contributed to the development of emergence and the attendant doctrines of emergentism, but it is interesting to note that the fundamental idea seems to have had a special appeal to scientists and those outside professional philosophy. In spite of this, emergentism failed to become a visible part of mainstream philosophy of science because philosophy of science was, at the time, shaped by positivist and hyper-empiricist views that dominated Anglo-American philosophy.

Comment: Kim's argument is one of the most important objections to emergence in philosophy of mind. Though complex, a basic understanding of it is essential to a proper treatment of nonreductive physicalism. In any context where emergentism is taught, this paper would serve as an important counterpoint.

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Millikan, Ruth Garrett, , . Historical kinds and the “special sciences”
1999, Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):45-65.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Juan R. Loaiza

Abstract: There are no “special sciences” in Fodor’s sense. There is a large group of sciences, “historical sciences,” that differ fundamentally from the physical sciences because they quantify over a different kind of natural or real kind, nor are the generalizations supported by these kinds exceptionless. Heterogeneity, however, is not characteristic of these kinds. That there could be an univocal empirical science that ranged over multiple realizations of a functional property is quite problematic. If psychological predicates name multiply realized functionalist properties, then there is no single science dealing with these: human psychology, ape psychology, Martian psychology and robot psychology are necessarily different sciences

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Potochnik, Angela, , . Levels of Explanation Reconceived
2010, Philosophy of Science 77(1): 59-72.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: A common argument against explanatory reductionism is that higher-level explanations are sometimes or always preferable because they are more general than reductive explanations. Here I challenge two basic assumptions that are needed for that argument to succeed. It cannot be assumed that higher-level explanations are more general than their lower-level alternatives or that higher-level explanations are general in the right way to be explanatory. I suggest a novel form of pluralism regarding levels of explanation, according to which explanations at different levels are preferable in different circumstances because they offer different types of generality, which are appropriate in different circumstances of explanation.

Comment: An interesting anti-anti-reductionist article. Would be useful in a discussion of explanatory power or levels of explanation in a philosophy of science course.

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Thalos, Mariam, , . A modest proposal for interpreting structural explanations
1998, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49(2): 279-295.
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Abstract: Social sciences face a well-known problem, which is an instance of a general problem faced as well by psychological and biological sciences: the problem of establishing their legitimate existence alongside physics. This, as will become clear, is a problem in metaphysics. I will show how a new account of structural explanations, put forward by Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit, which is designed to solve this metaphysical problem with social sciences in mind, fails to treat the problem in any importantly new way. Then I will propose a more modest approach, and show how it does not deserve the criticism directed at a prototype by Jackson and Pettit

Comment: An interesting argument for the value of structual explanations in sociology. Useful in the context of a discussion of reductionism or of the proper classification of social sciences as real science.

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