Emergence and Morphogenesis: Causal Reduction and Downward Causation?
What is the relation between the causal powers of complex systems and those of their organised components? Whilst causal reductionists tend to contend that the former powers can be accounted for in terms of the latter, certain advocates of downward causation have it that causal powers of systems can act back on their own components. Focussing upon processes whereby systems are actually formed, I question both of these contentions. Typically missing from arguments for both, I argue, is an adequate analysis of the manner in which the components of a system are organised in relation to each other, and indeed of the causal contribution of any such organising relations.
KeywordsCausal powers of complex systems Emergence and morphogenesis Organising relations
- Deacon TW (2006) Emergence: the hole at the wheel’s hub. In: Clayton P, Davies P (eds) The re-emergence of emergence: the emergentist hypothesis from science to religion. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 111–150Google Scholar
- Kim J (1996) Philosophy of mind, dimensions of philosophy series. Westview Press, ColoradoGoogle Scholar
- Kim J (2000) Making sense of downward causation. In: Andersen PB, Emmeche C, Finnemann NO, Christiansen PV (eds) Downward causation. Aarhus University Press, Denmark, pp 305–321Google Scholar
- Lawson T (2003) Reorienting economics. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Maruyama M (1963) The second cybernetics: deviation-amplifying mutual causal processes. Am Sci 5(2):16–79Google Scholar
- Searle JR (1992) The rediscovery of the mind. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Sperry RW (1987) Consciousness and causality. In: Gregory RL (ed) The oxford companion to the mind. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar