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Causal Emergence and Real Patterns

Dewhurst, Joe (2020) Causal Emergence and Real Patterns. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In several recent publications, Erik Hoel and colleagues have proposed a new model of causal emergence based on an information theoretic measure of causation. In this paper I will first introduce their measure, which they call ‘effective information’, and describe how they use it to argue for causal emergence. In brief, the idea is that certain kinds of complex system are structured such that an intervention characterised at the macro-level will be more informative than one characterised at the micro-level, and that this constitutes a form of causal emergence. Having introduced Hoel’s proposal, I will then assess the extent to which it is genuinely ‘causal’ and/or ‘emergent’, and argue that its interventionist approach to causation supports only an epistemic form of emergence. Finally I will suggest that the best way to make sense of Hoel’s proposal is in terms of Ladyman & Ross' information theoretic gloss on Dennettian ‘real patterns’, which can clarify the sense in which emergence can be both causal and epistemic.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Dewhurst, Joejoseph.e.dewhurst@gmail.com
Keywords: causation, emergence, real patterns
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Dr. Joe Dewhurst
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2020 01:15
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2020 01:15
Item ID: 17043
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Consciousness
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 3 April 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17043

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