PhilSci Archive

Decoupling emergence and reduction in physics

Crowther, Karen (2015) Decoupling emergence and reduction in physics. [Preprint]

[img] PDF
decoupling_author1.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (313kB)

Abstract

An effective theory in physics is one that is supposed to apply only at a given length (or energy) scale; the framework of effective field theory (EFT) describes a `tower' of theories each applying at different length scales, where each `level' up is a shorter-scale theory. Owing to subtlety regarding the use and necessity of EFTs, a conception of emergence defined in terms of reduction is irrelevant. I present a case for decoupling emergence and reduction in the philosophy of physics. This paper develops a positive conception of emergence, based on the novelty and autonomy of the `levels', by considering physical examples, involving critical phenomena, the renormalisation group, and symmetry breaking. This positive conception of emergence is related to underdetermination and universality, but, I argue, is preferable to other accounts of emergence in physics that rely on universality.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Crowther, Karenkjc78@pitt.edu
Additional Information: Forthcoming in European Journal for Philosophy of Science
Keywords: Emergence; Reduction; Effective Field Theory; Quantum Field Theory; Critical Phenomena; Renormalization; Universality; Symmetry Breaking
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Depositing User: Dr. Karen Crowther
Date Deposited: 28 May 2015 13:24
Last Modified: 28 May 2015 13:24
Item ID: 11484
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Date: 6 May 2015
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11484

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item