Worldviews, science and us : studies of analytical metaphysics

TitleWhy social emergence? Discussing the use of analytical metaphysics in social theory
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsVan Bouwel, J
EditorVanderbeeken, R, D'Hooghe, B
Conference NameWorldviews, science and us : studies of analytical metaphysics
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Company
ISBN Number9789814295819

Recently the concept of emergence has been used in social theory to understand and defend social causation and nonreductive individualism (cf., Refs. 1, 2 and 3). In this paper, I want to analyse what the contribution of analytical metaphysics, and, in particular, the concept of emergence is, or might be, to the discussion in social theory. Especially Keith Sawyer's use of emergence in his defence of social explanation will be scrutinized. Therefore, it will be important to distinguish ontological from epistemological emergence. Where Sawyer focuses on ontological emergence, I will argue that social explanation might better be defended by putting emphasis on pragmatic aspects of explanation and considering emergence as an epistemological category.

Citation Key812480