•  402
    The causal argument for physicalism is anayzed and it's key premise--the causal closure of physics--is found wanting. Therefore, a hidden premise must be added to the argument to gain its conclusion, but the hidden premise is indistinguishable from the conclusion of the causal argument. Therefore, it begs the question on physicalism.
  •  339
    Contextual Emergence in the Description of Properties
    with Harald Atmanspacher
    Foundations of Physics 36 (12): 1753-1777. 2006.
    The role of contingent contexts in formulating relations between properties of systems at different descriptive levels is addressed. Based on the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions for interlevel relations, a comprehensive classification of such relations is proposed, providing a transparent conceptual framework for discussing particular versions of reduction, emergence, and supervenience. One of these versions, contextual emergence, is demonstrated using two physical exampl…Read more
  •  304
    Downward causation in fluid convection
    Synthese 160 (2). 2008.
    Recent developments in nonlinear dynamics have found wide application in many areas of science from physics to neuroscience. Nonlinear phenomena such as feedback loops, inter-level relations, wholes constraining and modifying the behavior of their parts, and memory effects are interesting candidates for emergence and downward causation. Rayleigh–Bénard convection is an example of a nonlinear system that, I suggest, yields important insights for metaphysics and philosophy of science. In this pape…Read more
  •  287
    Patching physics and chemistry together
    Philosophy of Science 72 (5): 710-722. 2005.
    The "usual story" regarding molecular chemistry is that it is roughly an application of quantum mechanics. That is to say, quantum mechanics supplies everything necessary and sufficient, both ontologically and epistemologically, to reduce molecular chemistry to quantum mechanics. This is a reductive story, to be sure, but a key explanatory element of molecular chemistry, namely molecular structure, is absent from the quantum realm. On the other hand, typical characterizations of emergence, such …Read more
  •  127
    Quantum time arrows, semigroups and time-reversal in scattering
    International Journal of Theoretical Physics 723-733. 2005.
    Two approaches toward the arrow of time for scattering processes have been proposed in rigged Hilbert space quantum mechanics. One, due to Arno Bohm, involves preparations and registrations in laboratory operations and results in two semigroups oriented in the forward direction of time. The other, employed by the Brussels-Austin group, is more general, involving excitations and de-excitations of systems, and apparently results in two semigroups oriented in opposite directions of time. It turns o…Read more
  •  125
    On Separating Predictability and Determinism
    Erkenntnis 58 (2): 169-188. 2003.
    There has been a long-standing debate about the relationship of predictability and determinism. Some have maintained that determinism implies predictability while others have maintained that predictability implies determinism. Many have maintained that there are no implication relations between determinism and predictability. This summary is, of course, somewhat oversimplified and quick at least in the sense that there are various notions of determinism and predictability at work in the philosop…Read more
  •  123
    What could be worse than the butterfly effect?
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (4). 2008.
    Some have argued that chaos, with its characteristic feature of sensitive dependence on initial conditions, should be sensitive to quantum events (Hobbs 1991; Kellert 1993). The upshot of these arguments is that classical chaos would then be indeterministic, but such a conclusion is dependent on which versions of quantum theory and solutions to the measurement problem are adopted (Bishop and Kronz 1999). In this essay, the relationship between quantum mechanics and sensitive dependence is placed…Read more
  •  103
    Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism (edited book)
    with Harald Atmanspacher
    Thorverton UK: Imprint Academic. 2002.
    These and other questions emphasize the fact that chance and choice are two leading actors on stage whenever issues of determinism are under discussion. ...
  •  99
    Determinism is a rich and varied concept. At an abstract level of analysis, Jordan Howard Sobel (1998) identifies at least ninety varieties of what determinism could be like. When it comes to thinking about what deterministic laws and theories in physical sciences might be like, the situation is much clearer. There is a criterion by which to judge whether a law–expressed as some form of equation–is deterministic. A theory would then be deterministic just in case all its laws taken as a whole wer…Read more
  •  85
    Stability Conditions in Contextual Emergence
    with Harald Atmanspacher
    Chaos and Complexity Letters 2 139-150. 2007.
    The concept of contextual emergence is proposed as a non-reductive, yet welldefined relation between different levels of description of physical and other systems. It is illustrated for the transition from statistical mechanics to thermodynamical properties such as temperature. Stability conditions are crucial for a rigorous implementation of contingent contexts that are required to understand temperature as an emergent property. It is proposed that such stability conditions are meaningful for co…Read more
  •  80
    What is this naturalism stuff all about?
    Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 29 (2): 108-113. 2009.
    Wading into the thicket of science, naturalism, and theism in the context of psychology can seem quite daunting. One prerequisite for avoiding confusions and missteps is to properly distinguishing two forms of naturalism that are logically independent of each other: metaphysical and methodological. Once this underbrush is cleared away, interesting and important questions about psychology’s compatibility with theism, the psychological study of religion and other topics can be fruitfully engaged. …Read more
  •  75
    This is the definitive companion to the study of the philosophy of the social sciences. It provides the student with an accessible, comprehensive and philosophically rigorous introduction to all the major philosophical concepts, issues and debates raised by the social sciences. Ideal for use in undergraduate courses, the structure and content of this textbook-the most thorough, clearly argued and up-to-date available-closely reflect the way the philosophy of the social sciences is studied and ta…Read more
  •  74
    Whence chemistry?
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (2): 171-177. 2010.
    Along with exploring some of the necessary conditions for the chemistry of our world given what we know about quantum mechanics, I will also discuss a different reductionist challenge than is usually considered in debates on the relationship of chemistry to physics. Contrary to popular belief, classical physics does not have a reductive relationship to quantum mechanics and some of the reasons why reduction fails between classical and quantum physics are the same as for why reduction fails betwe…Read more
  •  70
    The Via Negativa: Not the Way to Physicalism
    Mind and Matter 8 (2): 203-214. 2010.
    A recent defense of the causal argument for physicalism is to defune the physical in terms of the non-mental. This move is designed to defuse Hempel's dilemma, one version of which is taken to the problem that the physical cannot be successfully defined in terms of either present-day or a future completed physics. I argue that the inductive support offered for this non-mental move simply begs the question for physicalism
  •  61
    Kellert (In the Wake of Chars, University of Chicago press, Chicago, 1993) has argued that Laplacean determinism in classical physics is actually a layered concept, where various properties or layers composing this form of determinism can be peeled away. Here, I argue that a layered conception of determinism is inappropriate and that we should think in terms of different deterministic models applicable to different kinds of systems. The upshot of this analysis is that the notion of state is more…Read more
  •  57
    Excluding the causal exclusion argument against non-redirective physicalism
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (5-6): 57-74. 2012.
    A much discussed argument in the philosophy of mind against non-reductive physicalism leads to the conclusion that all genuine causes involved in mental phenomena must be reductive physical causes. The latter ostensibly exclude any other causes from having genuine effects in human thought and behaviour. Jaegwon Kim has been the chief exponent of this line of argument, calling it variously the causal exclusion argument or the supervenience argument against non-reductive physicalism. I will analys…Read more
  •  50
    Chaos
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2015.
    The big news about chaos is supposed to be that the smallest of changes in a system can result in very large differences in that system's behavior. The so-called butterfly effect has become one of the most popular images of chaos. The idea is that the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Argentina could cause a tornado in Texas three weeks later. By contrast, in an identical copy of the world sans the Argentinian butterfly, no such storm would have arisen in Texas. The mathematical version of this…Read more
  •  49
    Review of "After Physicalism" (review)
    Essays in Philosophy 14 (2): 8. 2013.
    On the whole, the essays and arguments in *After Physicalism* assume that the mind-body problem is independent of the physical, biological and social history of human beings. If I am right in what I have argued about the objectification that runs throughout so much of this volume, such assumptions of independence are not only false, but impede our ability to understand the actual nature of mind in our world. Moreover, coming to an understanding of mind in our world is as much about developing a …Read more
  •  49
    Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics Brussels–Austin style
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (1): 1-30. 2004.
    The fundamental problem on which Ilya Prigogine and the Brussels–Austin Group have focused can be stated briefly as follows. Our observations indicate that there is an arrow of time in our experience of the world (e.g., decay of unstable radioactive atoms like uranium, or the mixing of cream in coffee). Most of the fundamental equations of physics are time reversible, however, presenting an apparent conflict between our theoretical descriptions and experimental observations. Many have thought th…Read more
  •  46
    Free will in absentia: Dennett on free will and determinism
    Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 23 (2): 168-183. 2003.
    Mark Crooks has given a helpful discussion of Daniel Dennett's "philosophical abolition of mind," adding to the list of reasons why many philosophers jokingly say Dennett should have titled his 1991 book "Consciousness Explained Away". As Crooks argues, Dennett really is committed 'to our phenomenal experience, beliefs, desires, etc. as all being illusory in the strongest possible sense. Yet, when it comes to free will, Dennett fights hard to maintain that free will is something more than an ill…Read more
  •  43
    Arrow of Time in Rigged Hilbert Space Quantum Mechanics
    International Journal of Theoretical Physics 43 (7). 2004.
    Arno Bohm and Ilya Prigogine's Brussels-Austin Group have been working on the quantum mechanical arrow of time and irreversibility in rigged Hilbert space quantum mechanics. A crucial notion in Bohm's approach is the so-called preparation/registration arrow. An analysis of this arrow and its role in Bohm's theory of scattering is given. Similarly, the Brussels-Austin Group uses an excitation/de-excitation arrow for ordering events, which is also analyzed. The relationship between the two approac…Read more
  •  43
    Contextual Emergence of Physical Properties
    Foundations of Physics 50 (5): 481-510. 2020.
    Contextual emergence was originally proposed as an inter-level relation between different levels of description to describe an epistemic notion of emergence in physics. Here, we discuss the ontic extension of this relation to different domains or levels of physical reality using the properties of temperature and molecular shape as detailed case studies. We emphasize the concepts of stability conditions and multiple realizability as key features of contextual emergence. Some broader implications …Read more
  •  41
    The causal argument for physicalism is anayzed and it's key premise--the causal closure of physics--is found wanting. Therefore, a hidden premise must be added to the argument to gain its conclusion, but the hidden premise is indistinguishable from the conclusion of the causal argument. Therefore, it begs the question on physicalism.
  •  40
    The Physics of Emergence
    Morgan & Claypool publication as part of IOP Concise Physics. 2019.
    This book explores whether physics points to a reductive or an emergent structure of the world and proposes a physics-motivated conception of emergence that leaves behind many of the problematic intuitions shaping the philosophical conceptions. Examining several detailed case studies reveals results that point to stability conditions playing a crucial though underappreciated role in the physics of emergence. This contextual emergence has thought-provoking consequences for physics and beyond.
  •  39
    For a long time, Daniel Dennett, like many philosophers, has been trying to understand how to make room for free will in a world of ordered causes. A core feature of Dennett's view on these matters is that the world is deterministic and his approach to this project has been to show how determinism really is our friend rather than our enemy . His most recent foray into this arena is the ambitious book, Freedom Evolves, where he once again seeks to make clear that determinism does not threaten any…Read more
  •  33
    Overcoming neoliberalism
    with Frank C. Richardson and Jacqueline Garcia-Joslin
    Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 38 (1): 15-28. 2018.
    Psychology may have to get seriously political as human aims in living and selfhood itself are increasingly influenced in a deleterious manner by the vicissitudes of living in a neoliberal political economy and one-sided “enterprise culture” (Martin & McLellan, 2013; Sugarman, 2015). This article reviews recent writings of several social critics, including Jackson Lears (2015), Sebastion Junger (2015), Philip Blond (2010), and Christopher Lasch (1995), who richly flesh out the picture of this de…Read more
  •  27
    This second part of a two-part essay discusses recent developments in the Brussels-Austin Group after the mid 1980s. The fundamental concerns are the same as in their similarity transformation approach (see Part I), but the contemporary approach utilizes rigged Hilbert space (whereas the older approach used Hilbert space). While the emphasis on nonequilibrium statistical mechanics remains the same, the use of similarity transformations shifts to the background. In its place arose an interest in …Read more
  •  24
    Fluid Convection, Constraint and Causation
    Interface Focus 2 4-12. 2012.
    Complexity–nonlinear dynamics for my purposes in this essay–is rich with metaphysical and epistemological implications but is only recently receiving sustained philosophical analysis. I will explore some of the subtleties of causation and constraint in Rayleigh-Bénard convection as an example of a complex phenomenon, and extract some lessons for further philosophical reflection on top-down constraint and causation particularly with respect to causal foundationalism.
  •  23
    Rethinking determinism in social science
    with Frank Richardson
    In Harald Atmanspacher & Robert C. Bishop (eds.), Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism, Thorverton Uk: Imprint Academic. pp. 425--446. 2002.
    A re-examination of determinism and compatibilism and incompatibilism in free will debates.
  •  22
    The fundamental problem on which Ilya Prigogine and the Brussels-Austin Group have focused can be stated briefly as follows. Our observations indicate that there is an arrow of time in our experience of the world (e.g., decay of unstable radioactive atoms like Uranium, or the mixing of cream in coffee). Most of the fundamental equations of physics are time reversible, however, presenting an apparent conflict between our theoretical descriptions and experimental observations. Many have thought th…Read more