Critical phase transitions and their characteristic universal behavior have been at the center of recent debates around reduction and emergence in physics. For some, phase transitions are a case of successful reduction, while for others they constitute the hallmark of emergence. Not so many years ago, Butterfield (2011a, 2011b, 2014) and Norton (2014) suggested that phase transitions combine both emergence and reduction. In this talk, I develop further this compatibilist view and argue that critical phase transitions instantiate two different notions of weak emergence that I call “few-many” and “coarse-grained” emergence. At the same time, I will contend that they are successful cases of intertheoretic reduction, understood as a family of models that can be combined in order to achieve certain epistemic and ontological goals.
Join us on Zoom here
Meeting ID: 926 0052 1493 | Passcode: 964619
Jowett Society Organising Committee: Stephanie (Xiaoyi Lu) | Jowett Society Website