Levels of abstraction, emergentism and artificial life

Emanuele Ratti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


I diagnose the current debate between epistemological and ontological emergentism as a Kantian antinomy, which has reasonable but irreconcilable thesis and antithesis. Kantian antinomies have recently returned to contemporary philosophy in part through the work of Luciano Floridi, and the method of levels of abstraction. I use a thought experiment concerning a computer simulation to show how to resolve the epistemological/ontological antinomy about emergence. I also use emergentism and simulations in artificial life to illuminate both levels of abstraction and theoretical challenge for building intelligent agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2015


  • artificial life
  • computer simulation
  • emergentism
  • levels of abstraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Theoretical Computer Science


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