Mind Stuffed with Red Herrings: Why William James' Critique of the Mind-Stuff Theory Does not Substantiate a Combination Problem for Panpsychism [Book Review]
Graduate studies at Western
Acta Analytica 25 (4):413-434 (2010)
|Abstract||There is a famous passage in chapter six of Jamesâ 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 Jamesâ 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 Jamesâ 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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