C. Lloyd Morgan
C. Lloyd Morgan was one of the "British Emergentists," so-named by Brian McLaughlin. Other emergentists included John Stuart Mill, George Henry Lewes, Samuel Alexander,
and C. D. Broad. In his 1912 book Instinct and Experience, Lloyd Morgan revived the term "emergent," coined originally by Lewes. Later, in his 1922 Gifford Lectures and 1923 book Emergent Evolution, Lloyd Morgan defined emergent evolution and introduced the related "top-down" concept of hierarchical supervenience:
...in the physical world emergence is no less exemplified in the advent of each new kind of atom, and of each new kind of molecule. It is beyond the wit of man to number the instances of emergence. But if nothing new emerge - if there be only regrouping of pre-existing events and nothing more - then there is no emergent evolution. Such emergence of the new is now widely accepted where life and mind are concerned. It is a doctrine untiringly advocated by Professor Bergson. One could not foretell the emergent character of vital events from the fullest possible knowledge of physico-chemical events only...Such is the hypothesis of emergent evolution. Under emergent evolution there is progressive development of stuff which becomes new stuff in virtue of the higher status to which it has become raised under some supervenient kind of substantial gotogetherness.But Lloyd Morgan's idea of emergent novelty may have been an epistemic rather than an ontological claim. The laws of nature may still pre-determine all the higher-level properties, though our understanding of the laws may not allow us to predict the higher levels:
May we bring emergence itself under the rubric of causation?...Is emergent evolution itself the expression of an orderly and progressive development? If so (and such is my contention), then emergence itself takes rank, as Mill and Lewes also contended, among the "laws of nature." We may be unable to predict the probable nature of a character that is emergently new. We could not have foretold on the basis of physico-chemical events only what the nature of life would be. But that is due to our ignorance before the event of the law of its emergence. May we then, say:...That such novelty is for us unpredictable owing to our partial knowledge of the plan of emergence up to date, and our necessary ignorance of what the further development of that plan will be.