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Synthese

, Volume 194, Issue 7, pp 2291–2305 | Cite as

Are causal facts really explanatorily emergent? Ladyman and Ross on higher-level causal facts and renormalization group explanation

  • Alexander ReutlingerEmail author
Article

Abstract

In their Every Thing Must Go, Ladyman and Ross defend a novel version of Neo-Russellian metaphysics of causation, which falls into three claims: (1) there are no fundamental physical causal facts, (2) there are higher-level causal facts of the special sciences, and (3) higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent. While accepting claims (1) and (2), I attack claim (3). Ladyman and Ross argue that higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent, because (a) certain aspects of these higher-level facts (their universality) can be captured by renormalization group (RG) explanations, and (b) RG explanations are not reductive explanations. However, I argue that RG explanation should be understood as reductive explanations. This result undermines Ladyman and Ross’s RG-based argument for the explanatory emergence of higher-level causal facts.

Keywords

Renormalization Group Critical Exponent Universality Class Special Science Renormalization Group Method 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Laura Franklin-Hall, Andreas Hüttemann, James Ladyman, Barry Loewer, Margaret Morrison, John Norton, Michael Strevens, Karim Thebault, and Jessica Wilson for helpful discussions. I acknowledge support by the Humboldt Foundation at the MCMP.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Munich Center for Mathematical PhilosophyLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMünchenGermany

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