Inmaterial knowledge as ultimate emergence
Mind-body problem
Ontological vs. epistemic emergence
Formal causation
Issue Date: 
1842 - 8517
Sánchez-Cañizares, J. (Javier). "Inmaterial knowledge as ultimate emergence". European Journal of Science and Theology. 18 (6), 2022, 113 - 128
Current discussions on the philosophy of Nature hinge on the concept of emergence. Such a concept has long succeeded in the Life sciences and is increasingly receiving the focus of Physics and Philosophy of Physics alike. Remarkably enough, even for basic scientists, there is no agreement on whether emergence should be considered fundamental (ontological) or just an elegant and more straightforward (epistemic) way of referring to complex arrangements of basic stuff. In this paper: (1) I evince said disagreement by confronting two distinguished approaches, namely Bishop and Ellis’s, and Sean Carroll’s. (2) I intend to move beyond the loggerheads by supporting ontological emergence as a widespread feature in Nature. I invoke Penrose’s argument of functional freedom as an epistemic hint for ontological emergence, i.e. the necessary recourse to additional - apparently non-fundamental - criteria to justify the coarsegraining of finer, lower levels into coarser, higher levels in Nature. Said move, if understood in keeping with a minimum scientific realism, points towards a different kind of causality at work in the universe, classically referred to as formal causation. (3) Once ontological emergence is naturalized, one can frame the emergence of immaterial knowledge as an ontological apex - dubbed ultimate emergence - that reverses the trend of coarse-graining.

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