9 – 12 July 2015

Summer School 2015

To be held at Hatfield College, Durham University, UK.


The Durham Emergence Project announces a week-long summer school on the topic of emergence for up to twenty advanced graduate students and early-career academics (who are within no more than ten years of receiving their PhD).

Emergence, or dependent novelty, is of increasing interest to scientists and philosophers as a way of characterising relationships between complex entities and their parts, relationships between the sciences, and the place of the mind in the physical world. Weak emergence, which is uncontroversial, concerns knowledge of the world, or our description of it: unpredictability, or the applicability of new concepts. This summer school will focus on strong emergence, which involves novelty in the world itself: new properties or objects, laws or causal powers. There is no agreement whether any cases of strong emergence exist, what would count as such cases, or whether their existence is even a coherent possibility. The aim of the summer school is to bring participants together from the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science, and physics, in order that they may critically examine recent developments in the philosophy and science of emergence, and develop their capacity to contribute to ongoing scientific and philosophical research on the topic.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Characterising emergence and its significance
  • Emergence and the ‘new’ theories of causation
  • Emergence, reduction and the completeness of physics
  • Emergence in mind
  • Emergence in physics, chemistry and biology

Speakers: Discussion leaders will be drawn from each of the fields of philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and physics, including Michael Silberstein and Mariam Thalos.

Practical Arrangements: College accommodation and meals will be provided in Durham, and travel expenses will be covered.

How to apply: To apply for a place at the Emergence Summer School, you should send (or arrange to have sent) to c.m.syson@durham.ac.uk; a covering letter explaining why you wish to attend the summer school; a copy of your curriculum vitae; and one academic rederence. Previous participants are welcome to apply again. Applications should be received by Monday 4th May.

Decisions: Invitations to attend the Summer School will be sent out by 15th May 2015.