The Re-Emergence of Emergence: The Emergentist Hypothesis from Science to Religion

Philip Clayton, Paul Davies

Research output: Book/ReportBook

126 Scopus citations


Much of the modern period was dominated by a 'reductionist' theory of science. On this view, to explain any event in the world is to reduce it down to fundamental particles, laws, and forces. In recent years reductionism has been dramatically challenged by a radically new paradigm called 'emergence'. According to this new theory, natural history reveals the continuous emergence of novel phenomena: new structures and new organisms with new causal powers. Consciousness is yet one more emergent level in the natural hierarchy. Many theologians and religious scholars believe that this new paradigm may offer new insights into the nature of God and God's relation to the world. This volume introduces emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages344
ISBN (Electronic)9780191701351
ISBN (Print)9780199544318
StatePublished - Oct 3 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Consciousness
  • Emergence
  • Emergence theory
  • God
  • Natural history
  • Nature of God
  • Reductionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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