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Dean of the College presents

The Emergence of Emergence

Presented by Peter Skiff

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

[The Emergence of Emergence]
In the last 20 years developments in science have rendered the dominant philosophy of science, so called “analytic philosophy, logical empiricism, or logical positivism”, obsolete and irrelevant. In physics discourses on such matters as anthropic principles and time reversal in cosmology, string theory and non-standard particle models in particle physics, non-Newtonian fluids, artificial atoms, symmetry breaking in condensed matter physics, and non- linear optics, are just a few areas where classical notions of causality, falsification, reduction, and “scientific method” simply cannot be applied.

Recent works, such as “Everything must Go,” Ladyman and Ross (Oxford, 2007), “Scientific Metaphysics,” ed. By Don Ross, et al (Oxford, 2013,), “Particle Metaphysics,” B. Falkenburg, (Springer, 2007), “Philosophy and the Foundations of Dynamics,” L. Sklar (Cambridge, 2013), The Emergence of Everything,” S. Moskowitz (Oxford, 2004), “The Trouble With Physics,” L. Smolin (Mariner, 2007), “More is Different,” P. Anderson (Science, 1972), and “How the Laws of Physics Lie,” N. Cartwright, Oxford, 1983) have examples of various suggestions as to how philosophy of science can “catch up” with modern scientific arguments. In the currently popular arguments of “emergence theory,” it is proposed the laws of physics appropriate to different statistical scales of systems are irreducible (e.g. from molecular and cellular considerations, or that new laws “emerge” as systems evolve to more complexity or to novel contexts, or that theories themselves must structurally evolve as they become more articulated (as in the evolution of modern quantum mechanics). This presentation will consider a few of these examples; hopefully suggesting that modern philosophy of science may rejoin contemporary humanities.


Please join us for a reception at 6:30 p.m. in the Olin Atrium.

For more information, call 845-758-7490, or e-mail jcerulli@bard.edu.

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Olin, Room 102