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TU Berlin

Inhalt des Dokuments

Philosophie der Kognition

Prof. Dr. Beate Krickel



Raum: H 7153


Sprechstunde: Do 15-16 via Zoom LINK
Bitte melden Sie sich vorab per Email an.

Persönliche Website: beatekrickel.com

Forschung & Publikationen

Lehre im WiSe 2020/21

Lehre im SoSe 2020

Dr. des. Matej Kohár


Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter


persönliche Website

Lehre im WiSe 2020/21



Diana Michel

studentische Hilfskraft






Veranstaltungen des Fachgebiets

Dienstag, 23.02.2021

Reduction and Emergence in Science and Philosophy - with Carl Gillett and Students at TU Berlin

Art der Veranstaltung:


Beate Krickel: Introduction

Lina de Boer, Ryhene Rais:
Reduction vs. Emergence - An Empirical Dispute?
+ Reply & Discussion

Mareike Lisker, Jonas Rehfeld:
The Enactivist Concept of Emergence & Gillett’s Framework
+ Reply & Discussion

Carl Gillett (Northern Illinois University)
The Puzzle of Explanatory Power and the Importance of the Metaphysics of Science
+ Discussion




Lina de Boer, Ryhene Rais: Reduction vs. Emergence - An Empirical Dispute?

In his book Reduction and Emergence in Science and Philosophy, Carl Gillett states that the question of which live position is true can be empirically answered by considering the potential replies to two sub-questions. The first concerns the contribution of differential powers by components in complex collectives (if they don't: Simple Fundamentalism) and the second concerns wether these differential powers are contributed purely and solely through other components (Conditioned Fundamentalism) or the alleged emergent property (Mutualism). While the first question allows for an empirically justified answer, it is not clear how Gillett sees the second question to be answered on empirical grounds. To make sense of the second claim we consider a thought-experiment he provides in his work. We assess this thought-experiment, in which he considers a case of Multiple Realization of a higher-level-property; at a certain time(T1), a certain set of components realize the higher-level-property and it is realized by different set at a different time(T2). Gillett seems to take this thought-experiment to settle the debate between Mutualism and Conditioned Fundamentalism since C.F. predicts the higher-levelproperty to be absent at T2 as a result of all the components contributing to its realization at T1 being absent at T2. This renders the prediction of C.F false in the specific case of multiple realizability. After careful assessment of Gillett's thought experiment which we consider the only viable option, at least theoretically, of answering the second sub-question empirically, we present an objection to the claim that the second question is empirically answerable by asking why the component set at T2 shouldn't be able to take over the role of the component set at T1 of contributing to the realization of the differential power. This would result in C.F and M. having the same predictions about the situation, hence their non-existent differences in prediction couldn't be used anymore to settle the debate between C.F. and M. on empirical grounds.


Mareike Lisker, Jonas Rehfeld: The Enactivist Concept of Emergence & Gillett’s Framework

In our presentation, we will sketch out the concept of emergence used by the enactivists Fuchs and De Jaegher in their paper "Enactive intersubjectivity: Participatory sense-making and mutual incorporation". Then, we will apply the concept of emergence developed by Carl Gillett to said enactivist notion. From the application, we derive challenges for the enactivists as well as questions of clarification for  Gillett. In a broader outlook, we want to ask about the role of compositional explanations in the social sciences.


Carl Gillett: The Puzzle of Explanatory Power and the Importance of the Metaphysics of Science

How does a representation explain natural phenomena? This is a foundational, and largely neglected, question that presently has few to no answers – so call it the “Puzzle of Explanatory Power”. For the question is how a representation has explanatoriness or what I term “explanatory power” – i.e. why the representation is an explanation at all, rather than how much it explains. I highlight one answer to the Puzzle offered by a novel view of scientific explanations I term “Ontic Representationalism” or the “Synthetic Account”. I highlight this view using neglected compositional explanations in the sciences. The resulting answer to the Puzzle is that representations inherit their explanatory power from the entities in nature they represent. I highlight how this solution has been missed by the two main contemporary views of explanation in “Epistemic” and “Ontic” accounts of explanation because they have failed to directly address the Puzzle. However, I suggest that the Synthetic Account plausibly synthesizes the insights of the two views (hence the name). I conclude by highlighting how pursuing the metaphysics of science is consequently central to understanding scientific explanations. And I also look at the “Bold Thesis” that all scientific explanation is ontic in the sense that it derives its explanatory power from its represented ontology – and I suggest that once we clear up misunderstandings, surprisingly, the Bold Thesis is very much a live one.

Prof. Dr. Beate Krickel
  • kontakt@kognitionsphil.tu-berlin.de,
Online (Zoom)
15:30 - 18:30

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