Seminar at UCSD: Reduction and Emergence

I will be offering a seminar on reduction and emergence this fall quarter. It will meet on Tuesdays, 2-5pm. Here is a short description:

Both ancient thought and modern science encourage a metaphysical view of our world according to which the macroscopic denizens of our world are constituted by unobservable microscopic objects. This view’s grip is so powerful that questions regarding the relationship between the microscopic objects, their properties, and our best theories about them on the one hand, and the macroscopic objects, their properties, and our best theories about them on the other hand take central stage in much of theoretical philosophy, e.g. in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. These relationships are often explicated in terms of reduction, emergence, and supervenience. This seminar will articulate these concepts and discuss the philosophical problems that arise from them. Since this is a course in philosophy of science, we will also pay significant attention to scientific perspectives on reduction and emergence, alongside metaphysics and philosophy of mind. We will read a combination of contemporary classics and recent contributions to the field.

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