"Causal Exclusion and Evolved Emergent Properties"

Revitalizing Causality: Realism about Causality in Philosophy and Social Science (ed. Ruth Groff) (Routledge, forthcoming)


Emergent properties are intended to be genuine, natural higher level causally efficacious properties irreducible to physical ones. At the same time they are somehow dependent on or 'emergent from' complexes of physical properties, so that the doctrine of emergent properties is not supposed to be return to dualism. The doctrine faces two challenges: (i) to explain precisely how it is that such properties emerge - what is emergence; (ii) to explain how they sidestep the exclusion problem - how it is that there is room for these properties to be causally efficacious, given the causal completeness of the physical. In this paper I explain how evolved functional properties can meet both challenges.