The spectacular success of the scientific enterprise over the last four hundred years has led to the promise of an all encompassing vision of the natural world. In this elegant picture, everything we observe is based upon just a few fundamental processes and entities. The almost infinite variety and complexity of the world is thus the product of emergence. But the concept of emergence is fraught with controversy and confusion. This book ponders the question of how emergence should be understood within the scientific picture, and whether a complete vision of the world can be attained that includes consciousness.
A major new book by an acknowledged expert on the philosophical problems of consciousness Describes in detail the difference between weak and strong emergence (i.e. reductionist and non-reductionist) pictures Provides the groundwork for readers to draw their own conclusions about the open questions in our understanding of consciousness Accessible to general readers familiar with popular treatments of emergence and/or consciousness