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How does Hierarchical Reductionism (as coined by Richard Dawkins) differ from Emergentism exactly?

Edit: Dawkins' definition of hierarchical reductionism: https://books.google.fr/books?id=-EDHRX3YYwgC&pg=PT41&lpg=PT41&source=bl&ots=M9k65DctGX&sig=8tSbcbdCEvxmvkpMTe5Q6ESpkDA&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=87wMVZjGDI3uasqFgfAJ&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAg

However, there is also that statement: "Dawkins [accepts] some form of emergentism" in https://books.google.fr/books?id=2ECk8DNXhnQC&pg=PA132&lpg=PA132&dq=dawkins+emergentism&source=bl&ots=Ev4y1k5pSs&sig=liVtTghdnC55rRc0o1zHAAB8WaQ&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=j8AMVYmUCJXsaKyxgWg&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAQ

Which is a bit confusing.

closed as unclear what you're asking by iphigenie, Keelan, virmaior, DBK, Swami Vishwananda Mar 15 '15 at 11:20

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  • Perhaps if he provided the link to the book or a link wherein Dawkin's concept of Hierarchical Reductionism is defined, then this question would be clarified? Because once the concept is understood, Xoum's question becomes clear. – user13847 Mar 21 '15 at 0:27
  • Dawkins probably accepts weak emergentism. – user13847 Mar 21 '15 at 0:57
  • Added a link to the Dawkins book with definition of HR, and a link to another book stating that Dawkins accepts a form of emergentism. – Xoum Mar 21 '15 at 0:58
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Hierarchial reductionism states that complex systems can be broken down into a hierarchy of organizations, each of which is explained through the objects one level down in the hierarchy. Ultimately however, hierarchial reductionism is a reductionistic theory, and reductionims posits that a system can be explained by the interaction of its components. Strong Emergentism though posits an irreducability of complex systems, i.e. a system cannot simply be explained by breaking it up into its components. Weak emergentism on the other hand only posits a layered view of reality, in which each new layer of reality needs a new science, and is perfectly compatible with Hierarchial reductionism. Only strong emergentism conflicts with hierarchial reductionism, because strong emergentism includes a principle of irreducability not found in weak emergentism.

  • Thanks Andy. What is the place of interactions between same-level components for HR and emergentism? – Xoum Mar 2 '15 at 0:18
  • Your welcome Maxim. What do you mean by "place"? Do you mean where they interact? – user13847 Mar 2 '15 at 0:25
  • I mean, how both POVs consider inter-component interactions? Are not these interactions specific to their level? For example, would it be wrong to say that these interactions provide the "added value" ("the whole is more than the sum of its parts") described by emergentism? – Xoum Mar 2 '15 at 0:34
  • According to reductionist theories such as hierarchial reductionism, the "added value" from these interactions create the complex whole. Emergence denies that lower level interactions provide the "added value," rather positing that the complexity of upper levels cannot be reduced to the interactions of lower levels (this is called irreducability). – user13847 Mar 2 '15 at 0:36
  • There seems to be a slightly different approach with weak and diachronic emergentisms which seem to be more "compatible" with reductionism though. – Xoum Mar 2 '15 at 12:17

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