© 1992

Emergent Evolution

Qualitative Novelty and the Levels of Reality


Part of the Episteme book series (EPIS, volume 19)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction

    1. David Blitz
      Pages 1-2
  3. The Background to Emergent Evolution

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 3-3
    2. Charles Darwin
      Pages 5-23
    3. Herbert Spencer
      Pages 24-34
    4. T. H. Huxley
      Pages 35-42
    5. Alfred Russel Wallace
      Pages 43-49
    6. G. J. Romanes
      Pages 50-56
  4. The Origin of Emergent Evolution

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 57-57
    2. David Blitz
      Pages 59-75
    3. J. S. Mill, G. H. Lewes, Henri Bergson, E. G. Spaulding, Walter T. Marvin
      Pages 76-90
    4. David Blitz
      Pages 91-97
  5. The Debate over Emergent Evolution

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 111-111
    2. Samuel Alexander, C. D. Broad, W. M. Wheeler, R. W. Sellars
      Pages 113-128
    3. George P. Conger, Oliver L. Reiser, W. P. Montague, G. H. Mead, J. E. Boodin, J. C. Smuts et al.
      Pages 129-140
    4. Stephen Pepper, Charles Baylis, William McDougall, Bertrand Russell
      Pages 141-150
    5. Donald Campbell, Roger Sperry, Ernst Mayr, Jonas Salk, Stanley Salthe, Karl Popper et al.
      Pages 151-173
    6. David Blitz
      Pages 175-183
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 185-241

About this book


Emergent evolution combines three separate but related claims, whose background, origin, and development I trace in this work: firstly, that evolution is a universal process of change, one which is productive of qualitative novelties; secondly, that qualitative novelty is the emergence in a system of a property not possessed by any of its parts; and thirdly, that reality can be analyzed into levels, each consisting of systems characterized by significant emergent properties. In part one I consider the background to emergence in the 19th century discussion of the philosophy of evolution among its leading exponents in England - Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, T. H. Huxley, Alfred Russel Wallace, and G. J. Romanes. Unlike the scientific aspect of the debate which aimed to determine the factors and causal mechanism of biological evolution, this aspect of the debate centered on more general problems which form what I call the "philosophical framework for evolutionary theory." This considers the status of continuity and discontinuity in evolution, the role of qualitative and quantitative factors in change, the relation between the organic and the inorganic, the relation between the natural and the supernatural, the mind-body problem, and the scope of evolution, including its extension to ethics and morals.


Inuit argue bibliography comparative continuity evolution mind monism organ philosophy science writing

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Central Connecticut State UniversityUSA

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Emergent Evolution
  • Book Subtitle Qualitative Novelty and the Levels of Reality
  • Authors David Blitz
  • Series Title Episteme
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1992
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-7923-1658-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-481-4141-8
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-015-8042-7
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages IX, 241
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Science
    History, general
    Philosophy of Biology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site