Foundations of Science

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 133–151 | Cite as

Distinguishing Between Inter-domain and Intra-domain Emergence

  • Olimpia Lombardi
  • María J. Ferreira RuizEmail author


Currently, there are almost as many conceptions of emergence as authors who address the issue. Most literature on the matter focuses either on discussing, evaluating and comparing particular contributions or accounts of emergence, or on assessing a particular case study. Our aim in this paper is rather different. We here set out to introduce a distinction that has not been sufficiently taken into account in previous discussions on this topic: the distinction between inter-domain emergence—a relation between items belonging to different ontic domains—and intra-domain emergence—a relation between items belonging to a same ontic domain. Our final purpose is not to assume and defend a definite stance on emergence, but to stress the relevance of such distinction when attempting to argue for or against emergence, in the first place. We will also address the connections between emergence so distinguished and more general philosophical perspectives, suggesting where would reductionists and pluralists stand with respect to intra- and inter-domain emergence.


Inter-domain emergence Reductionism Pluralism 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CONICET/Institute of PhilosophyUniversity of Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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