It Must be True – But How Can it Be? Some Remarks on Panpsychism and Mental Composition: Pierfrancesco Basile


Although panpsychism has had a very long history, one that goes back to the very origin of western philosophy, its force has only recently been appreciated by analytic philosophers of mind. And even if many still reject the theory as utterly absurd, others have argued that it is the only genuine form of physicalism. This paper examines the case for panpsychism and argues that there are at least good prima facie reasons for taking it seriously. In a second step, the paper discusses the main difficulty the theory has to face, the ‘composition problem’. This is the problem of explaining how the primitive experiences that are supposed to exist at the ultimate level of reality could give rise to the unified experience of a human being. What assumptions as to the nature of experience generate the composition problem? Is mental composition impossible in principle or do we simply lack at present any understanding of phenomenal parts and wholes?

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References found in this work

The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Mortal Questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - Cambridge University Press.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits.Bertrand Russell - 1948 - London and New York: Routledge.

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Citations of this work

The Combination Problem for Panpsychism.David Chalmers - 2016 - In Godehard Brüntrup & Ludwig Jaskolla (eds.), Panpsychism. Oxford University Press.
The Integrated Information Theory of Agency.Hugh Desmond & Philippe Huneman - 2022 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 45:e45.
Beyond Combination: How Cosmic Consciousness Grounds Ordinary Experience.Itay Shani & Joachim Keppler - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (3):390-410.

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