Explanation, Prediction, and Emergence

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Explanation and prediction are asymmetrical, in so far as having the ability to predict a phenomenon doesn’t entail having the ability to explain why the phenomenon occurs, and vice versa. But how does emergence, of a weak variety, relate to this asymmetry? I will tackle this question with reference to quantum mechanics and classical mechanics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2015
EventWorkshop 3 : Physics and Emergence
- Hatfield College, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jul 20158 Jul 2015


WorkshopWorkshop 3 : Physics and Emergence
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherScientists and philosophers have developed a range of different mathematical and qualitative theoretical criteria for weak and strong emergence, but their mutual relevance is not always clear. This workshop helped develop the connections so as to bring out the scientific significance of the philosophical criteria and the philosophical significance of the scientific criteria. Discussion focused on how mathematical and qualitative theoretical criteria for weak and strong emergence apply to specific physical systems and properties, as modelled in quantum and statistical mechanics. It examined how these examples fit into the philosophical debate on emergence, reduction and the existence of downward causation.
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