, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 597–615 | Cite as

A Defense of Emergence

  • Jason Megill
Original Paper


I defend a physicalistic version of ontological emergence; qualia emerge from the brain, but are physical properties nevertheless. First, I address the following questions: what are the central tenets of physicalistic ontological emergentism; what are the relationships between these tenets; what is the relationship between physicalistic ontological emergentism and non-reductive physicalism; and can there even be a physicalistic version of ontological emergentism? This discussion is merely an attempt to clarify exactly what a physicalistic version of ontological emergentism must claim, and to show that the view is at least coherent. I then defend the view from objections, for example, Kim’s (Philos Stud 95:3–36, 1999) attempt to apply a version of his exclusion argument to ontological emergentism. I conclude by offering a positive argument for the view: given certain empirical evidence concerning the organization of the brain, physicalism might have to endorse ontological emergentism to avoid epiphenomenalism.


Emergence Mind–body problem Consciousness Downward causation Exclusion argument 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HelenaUSA

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