Reconciling Ontic Structural Realism and Ontological Emergence

João L. Cordovil, Gil C. Santos & John Symons 

Foundations of Science volume 28, pages1–20 (2023)

While ontic structural realism (OSR) has been a central topic in contemporary philosophy of science, the relation between OSR and the concept of emergence has received little attention. We will argue that OSR is fully compatible with emergentism. The denial of ontological emergence requires additional assumptions that, strictly speaking, go beyond OSR. We call these physicalist closure assumptions. We will explain these assumptions and show that they are independent of the central commitments of OSR and inconsistent with its core goals. Recognizing the compatibility of OSR and ontological emergence may contribute to the solution of ontological puzzles in physics while offering new ways to achieve the goals that advocates of OSR set for their view.

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