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Elly Vintiadis and Constantinos Mekios

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198758600.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 July 2021

Emergence: Inexplicable but Explanatory

Emergence: Inexplicable but Explanatory

(p.213) 12 Emergence: Inexplicable but Explanatory
Brute Facts

Peter Wyss

Oxford University Press

Emergence is a brute fact either because the reasons for the emergence of a particular emergent from its base in a certain context eludes us, or because we fail to grasp the reasons for its being the particular emergent that it is. These two senses of bruteness tend to be conflated by ‘epistemic’ or ‘explanatory’ accounts of emergence. The epistemic benefit of these accounts is dubious too. There is a clearer sense of an epistemic, and perhaps explanatory, gain, if emergence is associated with the metaphysically fundamental relations of identity and individuation. This makes it possible to account for the irreducibility of emergents and the idea that they are arranged in ontological levels, and thus (somewhat surprisingly) for some of the features that make emergence (epistemically) brute in the first place. Brute facts have thus a relevant epistemic function, and ought to be acknowledged with ‘natural piety’.

Keywords:   emergence, identity, individuation, explanation, brute fact, irreducibility, level

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