Emergence in social systems theories and social science: clarifications and applications


Poe Yu-ze Wan (Department of Sociology, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan)
Tomas Karger (Department of Sociology, Andragogy and Cultural Anthropology, Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic)


Paper sessions

Call for papers

“Emergence” is one of the most perplexing concepts that receive critical attention in as diverse fields as systems sciences, philosophy of mind, social theory, and philosophy of social science. Like other concepts that have the potential for guiding scientific research, it contains ontological, epistemological, and methodological dimensions, and has real empirical relevance. However, the attempts to clarify the conceptual issues surrounding emergence are often done in the abstract, without any indication of the empirical implications of the proposed solution.

Target groups

In the belief that philosophical or meta-theoretical reflections should be brought to bear on empirical research and real-life problems, the organizers of this symposium kindly invites you to submit a paper, focusing on one or both of the following topics:

  1. On an abstract level, how should we best conceptualize the relationship between emergence/emergentism, reduction(ism), and microfoundationalism in social systems theories and/or social science?
  2. In what ways may a sound understanding of emergence (e.g., a systemist approach, a critical realist account, or whatever perspective you prefer) contribute to the practice of social theorists and social scientists (e.g., researchers in sociology, economics, or international relations)?