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Emergent Powers

  • Michele Paolini PaolettiEmail author


I shall introduce at the beginning of the paper a characterization of strong ontological emergence. According to it, roughly, something strongly emerges from some other thing(s) iff the former depends in some respect on the latter and it some independent of it in some other respect. Afterwards, I shall present my own formulation of strong emergence, which is based on the distinction between the mere possession and the activation of a causal power. Causal powers are the entities to be primarily taken as emergent. Emergent causal powers depend for their possession on their emergence bases, but they are also independent of the latter (and on further relevantly similar entities) for their activation. This claim will be defended within some more general assumptions about the metaphysics of powers. Finally, I shall compare the power-based formulation of emergence with other formulations. I shall try to demonstrate that the power-based formulation is (all other things being equal) metaphysically less controversial than the other formulations. For the power-based formulation (unlike the other formulations) does not need to defend the additional thesis that the emergents can depend in some relevant respect on their bases and be independent of the latter in some other relevant respect. Indeed, the distinction between the mere possession and the activation of a power (and the possibility of having the former without the latter) is inscribed in the nature of powers themselves.


Powers Emergence Causation 



Funding was provided by Durham Emergence Project (Grant No. ID0EONAE321).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human StudiesUniversità degli Studi di Macerata (Italy)MacerataItaly

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