Mind Stuffed with Red Herrings: Why William James' Critique of the Mind-Stuff Theory Does not Substantiate a Combination Problem for Panpsychism [Book Review]

Acta Analytica 25 (4):413-434 (2010)
Abstract
There is a famous passage in chapter six of James†Principles of Psychology whose import, many believe, deals a devastating blow to the explanatory aspirations of panpsychism. In the present paper I take a close look at James†argument, as well as at the claim that it underlies a powerful critique of panpsychism. Apart from the fact that the argument was never aimed at panpsychism as such, I show that it rests on highly problematic assumptions which, if followed to their logical consequences, are just as inedible to contemporary critics of panpsychism as they are to its present-day supporters. Hence, a naÃ‾ve employment of the argument, as a critique leveled by physicalists against panpsychism, is counterproductive and even self-defeating. After examining the metaphysical shortcomings undermining James†position (as well as the hasty refutations of panpsychism based on it), I conclude with some reflections on what needs to be done in order to obtain a better perspective regarding the explanatory prospects of panpsychism as an alternative approach to mainstream physicalism in the study of conscious phenomena
Keywords Aggregates  Cohesion  The combination problem  Mild emergence  Mind-stuff theory  Radical emergence  Unities
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References found in this work BETA
P. W. Anderson (1994). More is Different. In H. Gutfreund & G. Toulouse (eds.), Biology and Computation: A Physicist's Choice. World Scientific. 3--21.
Mark H. Bickhard (2000). Emergence. In P.B. Andersen, Claus Emmeche, N.O. Finnemann & P.V. Christiansen (eds.), Downward Causation. University of Aarhus Press. 322-348.
Mark H. Bickhard (1998). Levels of Representationality. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 10 (2):179-215.

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