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Humeanism, Best System Laws, and Emergence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

In the current article and contrary to a widespread assumption, I argue that Humeanism and ontological emergence can peacefully coexist. Such a coexistence can be established by reviving elements of John Stuart Mill’s philosophy of science, in which an idiosyncratic account of diachronic emergence is associated with extensions of the Humean mosaic and the correlative coming into being of new best system laws, which have the peculiarity of being temporally indexed. Incidentally, this reconciliation of Humeanism and emergence allows for conceiving the autonomy of the special sciences in an interesting way, consistently with the reductionist ideal of a unified science.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

I would like to thank Anthony Fisher, Alexandre Guay, Vera Hoffmann-Kolss, Paul Humphreys, Andreas Hüttemann, Christian Loew, Quentin Ruyant, Christoph Schmidt-Petri, Emily Thomas, Peter Verdée, and two anonymous referees of this journal for helpful comments or discussions on earlier versions of (parts of) this article, as well as the audiences of the Köln Kolloquium Wissenschaftstheorie, the Louvain Emergence Mini-Workshop and the GAP.10 conference, where parts of this article have been presented. I also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

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