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Journal for General Philosophy of Science






I develop a variant of the constraint interpretation of the emergence of purely physical (non-biological) entities, focusing on the principle of the non-derivability of actual physical states from possible physical states (physical laws) alone. While this is a necessary condition for any account of emergence, it is not sufficient, for it becomes trivial if not extended to types of constraint that specifically constitute physical entities, namely, those that individuate and differentiate them. Because physical organizations with these features are in fact interdependent sets of such constraints, and because such constraints on physical laws cannot themselves be derived from physical laws, physical organization is emergent. These two complementary types of constraint are components of a complete non-reductive physicalism, comprising a non-reductive materialism and a non-reductive formalism.


Author Posting. © Springer Verlag, 2013. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Springer Verlag for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal for General Philosophy of Science, Volume 44, Issue 1, July 2013,

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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