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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 Stoliar 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 to answer. Another good place to start is Stoliar 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. Bertrand Russell's Neutral Monism.Mafizuddin Ahmed - 1989 - Mittal Publications.
  2. Does the Ignorance Hypothesis Undermine the Conceivability and Knowledge Arguments? [REVIEW]Torin Alter - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):756-765.
  3. What is Russellian Monism?Torin Alter & Yujin Nagasawa - 2012 - 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. (...)
  4. The Realistic Empiricism of Mach, James, and Russell: Neutral Monism Reconceived by Erik C. Banks.Iva Apostolova - 2015 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 53 (4):791-792.
  5. From Acquuantaince to Neutral Monism: Russell’s Theory of Cognition.Iva Apostolova - 2004 - The Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly 123.
  6. The Realistic Empiricism of Mach, James, and Russell: Neutral Monism Reconceived.Erik C. Banks - 2014 - 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.
  7. Neutral Monism Reconsidered.Erik C. Banks - 2010 - 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 (...)
  8. Russell's Hypothesis and the New Physicalism.Erik C. Banks - 2009 - 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 (...)
  9. Mind and Matter. Panpsychism, Dual-Aspect Monism, and the Combination Problem.Jiri Benovsky - forthcoming - Springer.
    In this book, Jiri Benovsky takes a stand for a variant of panpsychism as being the best solution available to the mind-body problem. More exactly, he defends a view that can be labelled 'dual-aspect-pan-proto-psychism'. Panpsychism claims that mentality is ubiquitous to reality, and in combination with dual-aspect monism it claims that anything, from fundamental particles to rocks, trees, and human animals, has two aspects: a physical aspect and a mental aspect. In short, the view is that the nature of reality (...)
  10. Dual‐Aspect Monism.Jiri Benovsky - 2016 - Philosophical Investigations 39 (4):335-352.
    In this article, I am interested in dual-aspect monism as a solution to the mind-body problem. This view is not new, but it is somewhat under-represented in the contemporary debate, and I would like to help it make its way. Dual-aspect monism is a parsimonious, elegant and simple view. It avoids problems with “mental causation”. It naturally explains how and why mental states are correlated with physical states while avoiding any mysteries concerning the nature of this relation. It fits well (...)
  11. Filling in Space.Simon W. Blackburn - 1990 - Analysis 50 (2):62-5.
  12. Panpsychism Without Subjectivity? A Brief Commentary on Sam Coleman's 'Mental Chemistry' and 'The Real Combination Problem'.Michael Blamauer - 2013 - 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).
  13. A Properly Physical Russellian Physicalism.Christopher Devlin Brown - 2017 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (11-12):31-50.
    Russellian physicalism has the promise of answering all the typical challenges that non-physicalists have issued against standard versions of physicalism, while not giving up physicalism's commitment to the non-existence of fundamental mentality. However, it has been argued that Russellian physicalism must endorse the existence of physically unacceptable protomental properties in order to address these challenges, which would mean giving up on a core physicalist tenet of keeping the fundamental realm untainted by a special relationship to mentality. Against this, I argue (...)
  14. Is Psycho-Physical Emergentism Committed to Dualism? The Causal Efficacy of Emergent Mental Properties.Godehard Brüntrup - 1998 - Erkenntnis 48 (2-3):133-151.
  15. Can the Russellian Monist Escape the Epiphenomenalist’s Paradox?Lok-Chi Chan - forthcoming - Topoi:1-10.
    Russellian monism—an influential doctrine proposed by Russell (The analysis of matter, Routledge, London, 1927/1992)—is roughly the view that physics can only ever tell us about the causal, dispositional, and structural properties of physical entities and not their categorical (or intrinsic) properties, whereas our qualia are constituted by those categorical properties. In this paper, I will discuss the relation between Russellian monism and a seminal paradox facing epiphenomenalism, the paradox of phenomenal judgment: if epiphenomenalism is true—qualia are causally inefficacious—then any judgment (...)
  16. On the Nature of Things-in-Themselves.W. K. Clifford & C. K. - 1878 - Mind 3 (9):57-67.
  17. Panpsychism and Neutral Monism: How to Make Up One's Mind.Sam Coleman - forthcoming - In Jaskolla Brüntrup (ed.), Panpsychism. Oxford University Press.
  18. Consciousness and The Prospects of Physicalism. [REVIEW]Sam Coleman - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (253):824-827.
    © 2013 The Editors of The Philosophical QuarterlyThis is a very good, very helpful book. In describing two possible outgrowths of contemporary physicalism, Pereboom performs a feat of time‐travel: he takes us forward to see the fruits ultimately to be produced by current seeds of thought. One of these branches—based on the ‘qualitative inaccuracy’ thesis—almost represents a parody of prevailing physicalist epistemic treatments of consciousness, to the extent that I can't shake the feeling that the book's first half may be (...)
  19. The Real Combination Problem: Panpsychism, Micro-Subjects, and Emergence.Sam Coleman - 2013 - 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 (...)
  20. Mental Chemistry: Combination for Panpsychists.Sam Coleman - 2012 - 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 (...)
  21. Review of 'The Mental as Fundamental' Ed. Michael Blamauer. [REVIEW]Sam Coleman - 2012 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  22. Being Realistic - Why Physicalism May Entail Panexperientialism.Sam Coleman - 2006 - 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 (...)
  23. Paradise Regained: A Non-Reductive Realist Account of the Sensible Qualities.Brian Cutter - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):38-52.
    This paper defends a non-reductive realist view of the sensible qualities—roughly, the view that the sensible qualities are really instantiated by the external objects of perception, and not reducible to response-independent physical properties or response-dependent relational properties. I begin by clarifying and motivating the non-reductive realist view. I then consider some familiar difficulties for the view. Addressing these difficulties leads to the development and defence of a general theory, inspired by Russellian Monist theories of consciousness, of how the sensible qualities (...)
  24. Analysis of Russell.Ted Dace - 2010 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (5-6):41-54.
    The problem of biological memory led Russell to propose the existence of mnemic causation, a mechanism by which past experience influences current thought directly, that is, without the need for a material intermediary in the form of a neural "memory trace." Russell appears to have been inspired by German biologist Richard Semon's concept of mnemic homophony, which conveys memory to consciousness on the basis of similarity between current and past circumstances. Semon, however, in no way denied a role for stable (...)
  25. Radical Nature: Consciousness All the Way Down. Integrating Different Worldviews on Mind and Body Through a Radical Revision of Ontology and Epistemology: Recognizing the Primacy of Process, Feeling, and Intersubjectivity.Christian de Quincey - 2000 - Dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies
    Cracking the "hard problem" in philosophy of mind---how consciousness is related to the physical world---will require a radical revision of ontology and epistemology. Success in solving the philosophical "mind-body problem" will depend on how well ontology naturalizes the mind while recognizing its irreducibility to matter. Success in developing a true science of consciousness will depend on how well epistemology integrates first-person subjectivity and second-person intersubjectivity with third-person objectivity. In both cases---ontology and epistemology---success will mean recognizing the primacy of process and (...)
  26. The Concept of Structure in Russell's The Analysis of Matter.W. Demopolous & Michael Friedman - 1989 - In C. Wade Savage & C. Anthony Anderson (eds.), Rereading Russell: Essays in Bertrand Russell's Metaphysics and Epistemology. University of Minnesota Press.
  27. The Side Left Untouched: Panpsychism, Embodiment, and the Explanatory Gap.Liam P. Dempsey - 2013 - 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 (...)
  28. Whither Neutral Monism?Marius Dumitru - 2013 - In Gabriel Vacariu & Gheorghe Stefanov (eds.), Problema minte-creier in neurostiinta cognitiei. Bucharest University Press. pp. 127-134.
    The core insight of neutral monism is that there might be something underlying both mind and matter which is neither and of which mind and matter could be seen as particular manifestations. In this paper, I shall present some directions for developing neutral monism as a metaphysical position on the mind-brain problem and argue that its core insight may be applied to other debates in philosophy of mind, in particular debates about the metaphysics of phenomenologies, such as the phenomenology of (...)
  29. Alternatives to Physicalism: Memoirs of a Friend.Peter E. Ells - 2018 - In Time, Science and the Critique of Technological Reason: Essays, in Honour of Hermínio Martins, Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 69-74.
    This memoir recalls friendly discussions with Hermínio Martins regarding the essential character of the furniture of the universe. Physicalism, despite the successes of the natural sciences, fails to account for experiences such as pain. As will be shown, Martins and the writer preferred alternative metaphysical systems that avoid such pitfalls.
  30. Introducing a Non-Physicalist Conception of Panpsychism.Peter E. Ells - 2009 - Dissertation, University of Reading
    The aim of this dissertation is to provide an elementary example of a panpsychic universe. It is one in which – in contrast to physicalism – the experiential (defined in terms of the possession of a qualitative, subjective, structured percept) is the foundation of existence. In this panpsychism, physics is secondary because it is arrived at by collating the experiences of a collection of experiential entities as they perceive one another.
  31. Mind and Brain.John C. Eccles (ed.) - 1978 - Paragon House.
  32. Russell and Schlick: A Remarkable Agreement on a Monistic Solution of the Mind-Body Problem.Herbert Feigl - 1975 - Erkenntnis 9 (May):11-34.
  33. Some Crucial Issues of Mind-Body Monism.Herbert Feigl - 1971 - 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.
  34. The Mind-Body Problem: Not a Pseudo-Problem.Herbert Feigl - 1960 - In Sidney Hook (ed.), Dimensions of Mind. New York University Press.
  35. The 'Mental' and the 'Physical'.Herbert Feigl - 1958 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 2:370-497.
  36. Can Phenomenal Qualities Exist Unperceived?Edward Feser - 1998 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 4 (4):405-14.
    Michael Lockwood has in recent years revived and defended a unique approach to the mind/body problem most famously associated with Bertrand Russell. This approach has a number of surprising and counterintuitive features, not the least of which is that it involves the claim that phenomenal qualities can exist independently of any mind, unperceived by any conscious subject. In this paper I first provide a summary of the Russell/Lockwood theory of mind so as to make evident the importance of this claim (...)
  37. Lockwood's Hypothesis.John A. Foster - 1991 - In The Immaterial Self: A Defence of the Cartesian Dualist Conception of Mind. Routledge.
  38. The Immaterial Self: A Defense of the Cartesian Dualist Conception of Mind.John A. Foster - 1991 - 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 ...
  39. Special Issue on Realistic Monism - Editorial Introduction.Anthony Freeman - 2006 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):1-2.
  40. The Role of Ignorance in the Problem of Consciousness: Critical Review of Daniel Stoljar, Ignorance and Imagination: The Epistemic Origin of the Problem of Consciousness (Oxford University Press, 2006).Brie Gertler - 2009 - Noûs 43 (2):378-393.
    The plain man thinks that material objects must certainly exist, since they are evident to the senses. Whatever else may be doubted, it is certain that anything you can bump into must be real; this is the plain man’s metaphysic. This is all very well, but the physicist comes along and shows that you never bump into anything: even when you run your hand along a stone wall, you do not really touch it. When you think you touch a thing, (...)
  41. From Structuralism to Neutral Monism in Arthur S. Eddington's Philosophy of Physics.Karim J. Gherab-Martin - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):500-512.
    Arthur S. Eddington is remembered as one of the best astrophysicists and popularizers of physics in the twentieth century. Nevertheless, his stimulating speculations in philosophy produced serious disputes among philosophers of his time, his philosophy remaining linked to idealism and mysticism. This paper shows this label to be misleading and argues for the identification of Eddington's philosophy with a kind of neutral monism regained from Bertrand Russell and influenced by the Gestalt psychology. The concept of structure is fundamental to our (...)
  42. The Phenomenal Bonding Solution to the Combination Problem.Philip Goff - forthcoming - In L. Jaskolla (ed.), Panpsychism: Contemporary Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
  43. Consciousness and Fundamental Reality.Philip Goff - 2017 - New York, USA: Oup Usa.
    The first half of this book argues that physicalism cannot account for consciousness, and hence cannot be true. The second half explores and defends Russellian monism, a radical alternative to both physicalism and dualism. The view that emerges combines panpsychism with the view that the universe as a whole is fundamental.
  44. Against Constitutive Russellian Monism.Philip Goff - 2015 - In Yujin Nagasawa (ed.), Consciousness and the Physical World. Oxford University Press.
  45. Why Panpsychism Doesn't Help Us Explain Consciousness.Philip Goff - 2009 - 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.
  46. Experiences Don't Sum.Philip Goff - 2006 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):53-61.
  47. Russellian Monism and Epistemic Pessimism.Ståle Gundersen - 2015 - SATS 16 (1):27-48.
    Journal Name: SATS Issue: Ahead of print.
  48. Russell and the Metaphysics of Neutral Monism.John Hamilton - unknown
    My overall aim in this thesis is to elucidate the precise nature of Russell's mature 'neutral monist' metaphysic. I show how an understanding of it has been hampered by pervasive misunderstandings. The approach I take is an historical one, and my account reveals that, after his adoption of neutral monism in 1918, there were no radical changes in his worldview, and certainly no lurch from a supposed quasi-phenomenalistic system prior to 1921, to a causal theory of perception after 1927. Instead, (...)
  49. Dispositional and Categorical Properties, and Russellian Monism.Eric Hiddleston - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-28.
    This paper has two main aims. The first is to present a general approach for understanding “dispositional” and “categorical” properties; the second aim is to use this approach to criticize Russellian Monism. On the approach I suggest, what are usually thought of as “dispositional” and “categorical” properties are really just the extreme ends of a spectrum of options. The approach allows for a number of options between these extremes, and it is plausible, I suggest, that just about everything of scientific (...)
  50. Explanation and Two Conceptions of the Physical.Jakob Hohwy - 2005 - 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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