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)
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 naïve 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 , 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 Philosophy   Philosophy of Mind   Epistemology   Metaphysics   Logic   Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12136-010-0095-8
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Stuart A. Kauffman (2000). Investigations. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
David J. Chalmers (1995). Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.

View all 42 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

71 ( #47,891 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

11 ( #61,095 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.