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Summary Russellian monism consists of the following two claims: i) that science describes physical entities structurally but does not capture their intrinsic nature, and  ii) that the intrinsic nature of physical entities is integral to the explanation of phenomenal consciousness.  This view is 'monist' in that both the physical properties described by science and phenomenal properties are ultimately grounded in a single class of property - the intrinsic properties of physical entities. Russellian monist theories vary along a number of dimensions. They differ in their characterisation of the hidden intrinsic properties: panpsychist theories regard them as phenomenal properties while panprotopsychists regard them as non-phenomenal properties that can combine to form conscious states. Among panprotopsychists, some say that these properties are unexperienced phenomenal qualities while others say that their nature is beyond our current conceptual repertoire. Versions of Russellian monism differ in their characterisation of the relationship between these intrinsic properties and phenomenal consciousness: candidates include identity, constitution and combinatorial 'infusion'. Russellian monists also diverge in their characterisation of the relationship between these intrinsic properties and familiar physical properties: they might be regarded as the categorical grounds of physical dispositions, the relata of physical relations or the non-structural implementation of physical structures. These details determine whether or not a Russellian monist theory qualifies as physicalist.
Key works Russellian Monism gets its name from a position most notably espoused in Russell 1927 though it should be remembered that modern versions of the view are quite different to Russell's own (and that there is some ambiguity about what Russell's own position really is). An excellent overview of Russellian Monism is offered by Alter & Nagasawa 2012. For a more detailed overview that goes deeper into the theory's historical roits see chapters 5 and 6 of Pereboom 2013. For panpsychist versions of Russellian Monism, see especially  Strawson 2006 (and the various responses to this paper) and Seager 2006.  For versions of Russellian Monism that deny panpsychism but which claim that phenomenal qualities are ubiquitous, see especially Feigl 1958, Maxwell 1979 and Unger 1998. For versions of Russellian monism that hold that we have no conception of the intrinsic nature of physical entities, see especially Stoljar 2001 (and his later revised position in Stoljar 2006) and Montero 2010.
Introductions An excellent overview of Russellian Monism is offered by Alter & Nagasawa 2012. Besides explaining why Russellian Monism is a promising position, this paper takes a careful look at some of the more subtle questions that a Russellian Monist theory must ultimately be able answer. Another good place to start is Stoljar 2001. This isn't an introductory paper, but it is a classic case for Russellian Monism that is presented accessibly and convincingly.
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  1. Mafizuddin Ahmed (1989). Bertrand Russell's Neutral Monism. Mittal Publications.
  2. Torin Alter (2009). Does the Ignorance Hypothesis Undermine the Conceivability and Knowledge Arguments? [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):756-765.
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  3. Torin Alter & Yujin Nagasawa (2012). What is Russellian Monism? Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9-10):9-10.
    Russellian monism offers a distinctive perspective on the relationship between the physical and the phenomenal. For example, on one version of the view, phenomenal properties are the categorical bases of fundamental physical properties, such as mass and charge, which are dispositional. Russellian monism has prominent supporters, such as Bertrand Russell, Grover Maxwell, Michael Lockwood, and David Chalmers. But its strengths and shortcomings are often misunderstood. In this paper we try to eliminate confusions about the view and defend it from criticisms. (...)
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  4. Erik C. Banks (2014). The Realistic Empiricism of Mach, James, and Russell. Cambridge University Press.
    The book revives the neutral monism of Mach, James, and Russell and applies the updated view to the problem of redefining physicalism, explaining the origins of sensation, and the problem of deriving extended physical objects and systems from an ontology of events.
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  5. Erik C. Banks (2010). Neutral Monism Reconsidered. Philosophical Psychology 23 (2):173-187.
    Neutral monism is a position in metaphysics defended by Mach, James, and Russell in the early twentieth century. It holds that minds and physical objects are essentially two different orderings of the same underlying neutral elements of nature. This paper sets out some of the central concepts, theses and the historical background of ideas that inform this doctrine of elements. The discussion begins with the classic neutral monism of Mach, James, and Russell in the first part of the paper, then (...)
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  6. Erik C. Banks (2009). Russell's Hypothesis and the New Physicalism. Proceedings of the Ohio Philosophical Association 6.
    Bertrand Russell claimed in the Analysis of Matter that physics is purely structural or relational and so leaves out intrinsic properties of matter, properties that, he said, are evident to us at least in one case: as the internal states of our brains. Russell's hypothesis has figured in recent discussions of physicalism and the mind body problem, by Chalmers, Strawson and Stoljar, among others, but I want to reject two popular interpretations: 1. a conception of intrinsic properties of matter as (...)
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  7. Simon W. Blackburn (1990). Filling in Space. Analysis 50 (2):62-5.
  8. Michael Blamauer (2013). Panpsychism Without Subjectivity? A Brief Commentary on Sam Coleman's 'Mental Chemistry' and 'The Real Combination Problem'. Panpsychism Without Subjectivity? A Brief Commentary on Sam Coleman’s ‘Mental Chemistry’ and ‘the Real Combination Problem’ (Online First).
    Blamauer, Michael_Panpsychism without Subjectivity (Online First).
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  9. Godehard Brüntrup (1998). Is Psycho-Physical Emergentism Committed to Dualism? The Causal Efficacy of Emergent Mental Properties. Erkenntnis 3 (2):133-151.
  10. David J. Chalmers (1996). The Metaphysics of Information. In The Conscious Mind.
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  11. W. K. Clifford & C. K. (1878). On the Nature of Things-in-Themselves. Mind 3 (9):57-67.
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  12. Sam Coleman (2013). Consciousness and The Prospects of Physicalism. By Derk Pereboom. (New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Pp. 208. Price £40.00 Hb.). [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 63 (253):824-827.
  13. Sam Coleman (2013). The Real Combination Problem: Panpsychism, Micro-Subjects, and Emergence. Erkenntnis (1):1-26.
    Taking their motivation from the perceived failure of the reductive physicalist project concerning consciousness, panpsychists ascribe subjectivity to fundamental material entities in order to account for macro-consciousness. But there exists an unresolved tension within the mainstream panpsychist position, the seriousness of which has yet to be appreciated. I capture this tension as a dilemma, and offer advice to panpsychists on how to resolve it. The dilemma is as follows: Panpsychists take the micro-material realm to feature phenomenal properties, plus micro-subjects to (...)
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  14. Sam Coleman (2012). Mental Chemistry: Combination for Panpsychists. Dialectica 66 (1):137-166.
    Panpsychism, an increasingly popular competitor to physicalism as a theory of mind, faces a famous difficulty, the ‘combination problem’. This is the difficulty of understanding the composition of a conscious mind by parts (the ultimates) which are themselves taken to be phenomenally qualitied. I examine the combination problem, and I attempt to solve it. There are a few distinct difficulties under the banner of ‘the combination problem’, and not all of them need worry panpsychists. After homing in on the genuine (...)
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  15. Sam Coleman (2012). Review of 'The Mental as Fundamental' Ed. Michael Blamauer. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  16. Sam Coleman (2006). Being Realistic - Why Physicalism May Entail Panexperientialism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):40-52.
    In this paper I first examine two important assumptions underlying the argument that physicalism entails panpsychism. These need unearthing because opponents in the literature distinguish themselves from Strawson in the main by rejecting one or the other. Once they have been stated, and something has been said about the positions that reject them, the onus of argument becomes clear: the assumptions require careful defence. I believe they are true, in fact, but their defence is a large project that cannot begin (...)
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  17. Ted Dace (2010). Analysis of Russell. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (5-6):41-54.
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  18. W. Demopolous & Michael Friedman (1989). The Concept of Structure in Russell's The Analysis of Matter. In C. Wade Savage & C. Anthony Anderson (eds.), Rereading Russell: Essays in Bertrand Russell's Metaphysics and Epistemology. University of Minnesota Press.
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  19. Liam P. Dempsey (2013). The Side Left Untouched: Panpsychism, Embodiment, and the Explanatory Gap. Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (3-4):3-4.
    This paper considers Galen Strawson's recent defence of panpsychism. Strawson's account has a number of attractive features: it proffers an unflappable commitment to the reality of conscious experience, adduces a relatively novel and constructive appeal to the explanatory gap, and presents a picture which is in certain respects consistent with Herbert Feigl's version of mind-brain identity theory, what I call twofold-access theory. Strawson is right that the experiential and physical are not irreconcilable, for at least some physical phenomena have an (...)
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  20. John C. Eccles (ed.) (1978). Mind and Brain. Paragon House.
  21. Herbert Feigl (1975). Russell and Schlick: A Remarkable Agreement on a Monistic Solution of the Mind-Body Problem. Erkenntnis 9 (May):11-34.
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  22. Herbert Feigl (1971). Some Crucial Issues of Mind-Body Monism. Synthese 22 (May):295-312.
    Assuming that the qualities of immediate experience ('sentience') are the subjective aspect of the neurophysiological cerebral processes, And assuming that all behavior is ultimately susceptible to physical explanation, There are a number of ways in which mind-Body monism can be stated. But there are also a number of serious difficulties for a logically coherent formulation of the identity thesis of the mental and the physical.
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  23. Herbert Feigl (1960). The Mind-Body Problem: Not a Pseudo-Problem. In Sidney Hook (ed.), Dimensions of Mind. New York University Press.
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  24. Herbert Feigl (1958). The 'Mental' and the 'Physical'. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 2:370-497.
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  25. Edward Feser (1998). Can Phenomenal Qualities Exist Unperceived? Journal of Consciousness Studies 4 (4):405-14.
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  26. John A. Foster (1991). Lockwood's Hypothesis. In , The Immaterial Self: A Defence of the Cartesian Dualist Conception of Mind. Routledge.
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  27. John A. Foster (1991). The Immaterial Self: A Defense of the Cartesian Dualist Conception of Mind. Routledge.
    The Immaterial Self examines and defends this thesis, and in particular argues for its Cartesian version, which assigns the non-physical ingredients of the ...
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  28. Anthony Freeman (2006). Special Issue on Realistic Monism - Editorial Introduction. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):1-2.
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  29. Philip Goff (forthcoming). Against Constitutive Russellian Monism. In Yujin Nagasawa (ed.), Consciousness and the Physical World. Oxford University Press.
  30. Philip Goff (forthcoming). The Phenomenal Bonding Solution to the Combination Problem. In L. Jaskolla (ed.), Panpsychism. Oxford University Press.
  31. Philip Goff (2009). Why Panpsychism Doesn't Help Us Explain Consciousness. Dialectica 63 (3):289-311.
    This paper starts from the assumption that panpsychism is counterintuitive and metaphysically demanding. A number of philosophers, whilst not denying these negative aspects of the view, think that panpsychism has in its favour that it offers a good explanation of consciousness. In opposition to this, the paper argues that panpsychism cannot help us to explain consciousness, at least not the kind of consciousness we have pre-theoretical reason to believe in.
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  32. Philip Goff (2006). Experiences Don't Sum. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):53-61.
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  33. Jakob Hohwy (2005). Explanation and Two Conceptions of the Physical. Erkenntnis 62 (1):71-89.
    Any position that promises genuine progress on the mind-body problem deserves attention. Recently, Daniel Stoljar has identified a physicalist version of Russells notion of neutral monism; he elegantly argues that with this type of physicalism it is possible to disambiguate on the notion of physicalism in such a way that the problem is resolved. The further issue then arises of whether we have reason to believe that this type of physicalism is in fact true. Ultimately, one needs to argue for (...)
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  34. Emmett Holman (2008). Panpsychism, Physicalism, Neutral Monism and the Russellian Theory of Mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (5):48-67.
    As some see it, an impasse has been reached on the mind- body problem between mainstream physicalism and mainstream dualism. So lately another view has been gaining popularity, a view that might be called the 'Russellian theory of mind' (RTM) since it is inspired by some ideas once put forth by Bertrand Russell. Most versions of RTM are panpsychist, but there is at least one version that rejects panpsychism and styles itself as physicalism, and neutral monism is also a possibility. (...)
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  35. Emmett L. Holman (1986). Maxwell and Materialism. Synthese 66 (March):505-14.
    In a recent article, Grover Maxwell presents a case for a kind of mind-brain identity theory which he claims precludes materialism. His case is based on some views about meaning which I find plausible. However, I will argue that, by adopting certain assumptions about the nature of sensory experience, and extending some of Maxwell's views about meaning in a plausible way, the issue of a materialistic identity theory is reopened. Ultimately, I will agree that such a theory is not true, (...)
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  36. Sidney Hook (ed.) (1960). Dimensions Of Mind: A Symposium. NY: NEW YORK University Press.
  37. Frank Jackson (2006). Galen Strawson on Panpsychism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):62-64.
    We make powerful motor cars by suitably assembling items that are not themselves powerful, but we do not do this by 'adding in the power' at the very end of the assembly line; nor, if it comes to that, do we add portions of power along the way. Powerful motor cars are nothing over and above complex arrangements or aggregations of items that are not themselves powerful. The example illustrates the way aggregations can have interesting properties that the items aggregated (...)
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  38. Ludwig Jaskolla & Alexander J. Buck (2012). Does Panexperiential Holism Solve the Combination Problem? Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9-10):9-10.
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  39. Mostyn W. Jones (2010). How To Make Mind-Brain Relations Clear. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (5-6):5 - 6.
    The mind-body problem arises because all theories about mind-brain connections are too deeply obscure to gain general acceptance. This essay suggests a clear, simple, mind-brain solution that avoids all these perennial obscurities. (1) It does so, first of all, by reworking Strawson and Stoljar’s views. They argue that while minds differ from observable brains, minds can still be what brains are physically like behind the appearances created by our outer senses. This could avoid many obscurities. But to clearly do so, (...)
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  40. Jaegwon Kim (1999). Physicalism and Panexperientialism: Response to David Ray Griffin. Process Studies 28 (1-2):28-34.
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  41. Amy Kind (2006). Panexperientialism, Cognition, and the Nature of Experience. Psyche 12 (5).
    i>: This paper explores the plausibility of panexperientialism by an examination of Gregg Rosenberg.
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  42. Uriah Kriegel (ed.) (2013). Current Controversies in Philosophy of Mind. Routledge.
    Philosophy of mind is one of the most dynamic fields in philosophy, and one that invites debate around several key questions. There currently exist annotated tomes of primary sources, and a handful of single-authored introductions to the field, but there is no book that captures philosophy of mind’s recent dynamic exchanges for a student audience. By bringing compiling ten newly commissioned pieces in which leading philosophers square off on five central, related debates currently engaging the field, editor Uriah Kriegel has (...)
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  43. Uriah Kriegel (2008). Review of D. Stoljar, Ignorance and Imagination. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86:515-519.
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  44. Keith Lehrer & Johann Christian Marek (eds.) (1997). Austrian Philosophy, Past and Present. Kluwer.
    This book concerns the history of Austrian philosophy, including the Vienna Circle, Wittgenstein, Meinong, Brentano, and Haller. It exhibits the continuity of empiricism and analysis in Austrian philosophy past and present.
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  45. Michael Lockwood (1998). Unsensed Phenomenal Qualities: A Defence. Journal of Consciousness Studies 4 (4):415-18.
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  46. Michael Lockwood (1993). The Grain Problem. In Howard M. Robinson (ed.), Objections to Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
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  47. Michael Lockwood (1989). Mind, Brain, and the Quantum. Oxford University Press.
  48. Michael Lockwood (1981). What Was Russell's Neutral Monism? Midwest Studes in Philosophy 6 (1):143-58.
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  49. W. G. Lycan (2006). Resisting ?-Ism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):65-71.
    Professor Strawson's paper is refreshing in content as well as refreshingly intemperate. It is salutary to be reminded that even the Type Identity Theory does not entail physicalism as that doctrine is usually understood (since c-fiber firings are not by definition purely physical). And it's fun to consider versions of panpsychism. I can see why Strawson finds his position hard to classify (p. 7), and I sympathize. In my title I have cast my own vote for '?-ism' on the grounds (...)
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  50. Fiona Macpherson (2006). Property Dualism and the Merits of Solutions to the Mind-Body Problem: A Reply to Strawson. Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (s 10-11):72-89.
    This paper is divided into two main sections. The first articulates what I believe Strawson's position to be. I contrast Strawson's usage of 'physicalism' with the mainstream use. I then explain why I think that Strawson's position is one of property dualism and substance monism. In doing this, I outline his view and Locke's view on the nature of substance. I argue that they are similar in many respects and thus it is no surprise that Strawson actually holds a view (...)
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