Emergence, Probability, and Reductionism

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Philosopher-theologian Bernard J. F. Lonergan defines emergence as the process in which “otherwise coincidental manifolds of lower conjugate acts invite the higher integration effected by higher conjugate forms” (Insight, [1957] 1992, 477). The meaning and implications of Lonergan's concept of emergence are considered in the context of the problem of reductionism in the natural sciences. Examples are taken primarily from physics, chemistry, and biology.

Keywords: Bernard Lonergan; emergence; reductionism; schemes of recurrence

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2004.00577.x

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy at Fu Jen Catholic University

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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