So the paradigm case of emergence is the wetness of water. The smallest parts of water aren’t wet but a large enough mass of them is.
But wet and its contrary are formally constituted by sense organs – water skippers can’t experience water as “wet” any more than we can experience ice as wet. So in what sense is a molecule “not wet”? Because it is too small to feel running over one’s fingers?
Wetness emerges only in the same way that audible or visible does. At certain frequencies we can hear something and at others we can’t, but it is extremely odd to describe this as a new property of the thing we are talking about.
Here’s the basic problem: either we take water as partially sense-relative or we don’t. If so, then the “emergence” of its wetness is nothing more than the uninteresting, purely epistemological claim that our sense powers have detection thresholds. If not, then the ocean is no more actually wet than a molecule of H2O.
“Emergence” wants higher-order realities to follow lower-order ones. It’s hard to see how all of them could not be just as easily re-framed as accounts of how higher-order proerties use lower ones to achieve their goals.