The main question that I address in my paper, will regard whether emergentism can be taken as a coherent position from which to solve this difficulty. (I am thus mainly interested in the coherence of emergentism, an issue that precedes that of its truth.) My answer will be negative: it is disputable that we can associate to the label “emergentism” a single view, capable of reconciling dependence nd autonomy in an equilibrated and coherent way. Rather there are many forms of emergentism, which tend to stress the former or the latter aspect of the psychophysical nexus: in particular, a moderate reading of emergentism tends to assimilate it to (non-reductive) physicalism, while a radical one falls short of full-blooded dualism. Even though it is important to distinguish these two forms of emergentism (which differ in substantial aspects), I do not consider the presence of a plurality of emergence relations as a bad thing, since I claim that we should be prepared to adopt different models of the foundational links among levels of reality, according to the particular way we experience them. I shall proceed in the following way: first, I shall introduce two platitudes that should characterize emergentism: (a) emergentism is not dualism; (b) emergentism is not reductionism. I shall then endeavor to show that the attempt to conciliate them—by means of notions like the “causal inheritance principle”—leads to interesting consequences for our view of the relation between emergence, reduction, and causality, the most interesting being the possibility of conceiving a continuum of emergentistic views in place of a single notion of emergence. My final suggestion will be that we should accept the existence of a plurality of emergence relations, each of them sensitive to a different way of conceiving the relations among the different levels of reality.
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