The Idea of Emergence – an Overview

Main Article Content

Tomasz Maziarka


This article has an introductory character and systematizes the topic. It introduces the idea of emergence which is currently enjoying something of a renaissance and aims to bring order to the terminology associated with this idea. The article concerns the very beginning of the formation of emergentism and its intuitive understanding. It also presents the main concepts of representative authors of emergentism (S. Alexander, CL Morgan, Ch. D. Broad) as well as the numerous characteristics of emergence (synchronic and diachronic emergence, weak and strong emergence). The article concludes with a systematization of meanings and contexts in which the concept of emergence occurs.

Article Details



S. Achim, Emergence − A Systematic View on Its Historical Aspects [w:] A. Beckermann et al. (red.), Emergence or Reduction? Essays on the Prospects of Nonreductive Physicalism, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1992, s. 25–48.

M. Arbib, Schema Theory [w:] S. Shapiro (red.), The Encyclopedia of Artificial Intelligence, Wiley, New York 1992, s. 1427–1443.

M. Arbib, W stronę neurobiologii osoby [w:] Stwórca – Wszechświat – Człowiek, Vatican Observatory Publications, Vatican City State, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkley, CA 1999, s. 445–486.

V.C. Archinov, Ch. Fuchs, Preface, [w:] iidem (red.), Causality, Emergence, Self-Organisation, NIA-Priroda, Moscow 2003, s. 5–18.

M.A. Bedau, P. Humphreys, Preface [w:] iidem (red.), Emergence: Contemporary Readings in Philosophy and Science, MIT Press, London 2008, s. ix–x.

J. Bremer, Jak to jest być świadomym, IFiS, Warszawa 2005.

J. Bremer, Problem umysł-ciało. Wprowadzenie, Wydawnictwo WAM, Kraków 2001.

Ch.D. Broad, The Mind and Its Place in Nature, Kegan Paul, London 1925.

D.T. Campbell, Downward Causation in Hierarchically Organised Biological Systems [w:] F.J. Ayala, T. Dobhzansky (red.), Studies in the Philosophy of Biology: Reduction and Related Problems, University of California Press, Berkeley 1974, s. 179–186.

N.A. Campbell, J. B. Reece, Biology, Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco 2005.

Ph. Clayton, Emergence: Us from It [w:] J.D. Barrow et al. (red.), Science and Ultimate Reality: Quantum Theory, Cosmology and Complexity, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004, s. 577–606.

Ph. Clayton, Conceptual Foundations of Emergence Theory [w:] Ph. Clayton, P.C.W. Davies (red.), The Re-Emergence of Emergence: The Emergentist Hypothesis from Science to Religion, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2008, s. 1–34.

Ph. Clayton, Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2008.

Ph. Clayton, Z. Simpson (red.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2006, s. 749–818.

T. Crane, The Significance of Emergence [w:] C. Gillett, B. Loewer (red.), Physicalism and Its Discontents, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2001, s. 207–224.

T.W. Deacon, The Hierarchic Logic of Emergence: Untangling the Interdependence or Evolution and Self-Organization [w:] H. Bruce et al. (red.), Evolution and Learning: The Baldwin Effect Reconsidered, MIT Press, Cambridge 2003, s. 273–308.

T.W. Deacon, The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain, Penguin, London 1997.

K. Devlin, Mathematics: The Science of Patterns, Henry Holt & Company, New York 1996.

G.M. Edelman, Neural Darwinism: The Theory of Neuronal Group Selection, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1989.

Ch.N. El-Hani, A.M. Pereira, Higher- Level Descriptions: Why Should We Preserve Them? [w:] R.B. Andersen et al. (red.), Downward Causation: Minds, Bodies and Matter, Aarhus University Press, Aarhus 2000, s. 118–142.

G.F.R. Ellis, Physics, complexity, and causality, „Nature” 2005, 435: 743.

G.F.R. Ellis, Physics and the real world, „Foundations of Physics” 2006, 26, s. 227–236.

G.F.R. Ellis, Top-down Causation, and the Human Brain [w:] N. Murphy, G.F.R. Ellis, T. O’Connor (red.), Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will, Springer-Verlag, Berlin–Heidelberg 2009, s. 53–81.

S. Kauffman, At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity, Oxford University Press, New York 1996.

S. Kauffman, Investigations, Oxford University Press, New York 2000.

S. Kauffman, Whispers from Carnot: The Origins of Order and Principles of Adaptation in Complex Nonequilibrium Systems [w:] G. Cowen et. al. (red.), Sante Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, Proceedings, vol. 19, s. 83–136.

J. Kim, Mit nieredukcyjnego materializmu [w:] M. Miłkowski, R. Poczobut (red.), Analityczna metafizyka umysłu. Najnowsze kontrowersje, IFiS PAN, Warszawa 2008, s. 76-98.

Ch. Koch, The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach, Roberts and Company, Englewood 2004; przekład polski: Ch. Koch, Neurobiologia na tropie świadomości, przeł. G. Hess, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, Warszawa 2008.

W. Korohoda, Myśli i opinie wybranych przyrodników o emergencji i redukcjonizmie w biologii [w:] M. Heller, J. Mączka (red.), Struktura i emergencja, PAU–OBI-Biblos, Kraków–Tarnów 2006, s. 161–172.

G.H. Lewes, Problems of Life and Mind, Kegan Paul, Trench, Turbner & Co., London 1875.

P.L. Luisi, Emergence in chemistry: chemistry as the embodiment of emergence, „Foundations of Chemistry” 2002, 4, s. 183–200.

J.S. Mill, A System of Logic, Longmans, London 1843; [przedruk w:] J. Robson (red.), Collected Works, vol. 7, t. I, Toronto 1962, s. 575–580; przekład polski: J.S. Mill, System logiki, przeł. C. Znamierowski, PWN, Warszawa 1962.

D. Newman, Emergence and strange attractors, „Philosophy of Science” 1996, 63, s. 245–261.

A.R. Peacocke, An Introduction to the Physical Chemistry of Biological Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1989.

R. Poczobut, Emergencja a redukcja, czyli o miejscu umysłu w otwartym wszechświecie, „Filozofia Nauki” 2003, 11, s. 93– 108.

R. Poczobut, System – struktura – emergencja [w:] M. Heller, J. Mączka (red.), Struktura i emergencja, PAU–OBI-Biblos, Kraków–Tarnów 2006, s. 11–38.

R. Poczobut, Między redukcją a emergencją, Monografie FNP, Wrocław 2009, s. 86–89.

A. Samuel, Space, Time and Deity, Macmillan, London 1920.

A. Scott, Stairway to the Mind, Springer, New York 1995; przekład polski: Schody do umysłu, przeł. H. Barańska, Wydawnictwa Naukowo-Techniczne, Warszawa 1999.

M. Silberstein, J. McGeever, The search for ontological emergence, „Philosophical Quarterly” 1999, 49, s. 187.

R.W. Sperry, Macro- versus micro-reductionism, „Philosophy of Science” 1960, 53, s. 265–270.

W. Strawiński, Jedność nauki, redukcja, emergencja, Fundacja Aletheia, Warszawa 1997, s. 171–172.

A.S. Tanenbaum, Structured Computer Organization, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs 1990.

R. van Gulick, Who’s in Charge Here? And Who’s Doing All the Work? [w:] J. Heil, A. Mele (red.), Mental Causation, Clarendon, Oxford 1995, s. 233–256.

R. van Gulick, Redukcja, emergencja i inne nowsze zjawiska [w:] M. Miłkowski, R. Poczobut (red.), Analityczna metafizyka umysłu. Najnowsze kontrowersje, IFiS PAN, Warszawa 2008, s. 144–190.